Don't Look Up

Don't Look Up ★★★½

After that godawful trailer and also taking into account that Adam McKay's brand of comedy generally is for people who are not me (I despised Anchorman and The Other Guys and I'd rather drag my balls across a fucking cheese grater than watch Step Brothers), my expectations for Don't Look Up were in the gutter. If it didn't feature the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep, I wouldn't have bothered watching it in the first place, let alone have paid for the big screen experience. Though, once again McKay deserves credit for making a goddamn comedy visually more interesting than most movies that primarily exist to deliver eye candy.

Going in I was worried about the almost 2½ hour runtime, because for a comedy it's usually a sign that things got out of hand. Honestly though, I don't think the length is an issue here. Neither is the acting. I have no idea what Mark Rylance was going for with his performance, though. Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep stood out the most for me because of their characters' preposterous nature. Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as the leads did solid work, though I felt the film didn't use Lawrence in the most effective way, while DiCaprio even at the age of 47 struggles to be convincing as a father of (almost) grown up children. Otherwise he's committed as ever. He's not the first A-lister I'd think of when it comes to portraying a socially awkward scientist, but he pulled it off with aplomb. Melanie Lynskey plays his wife and they're more believable as a couple than him and Blanchett's trashy talk show host, who he cheats with.

Scrolling through the reviews I noticed that many are criticizing the film for its lack of subtlety and funny moments. While there certainly is nothing subtle about Don't Look Up, that's also true for McKay's work in general. So, if this isn't your first encounter with his movies, what the fuck did you expect? Also the prime objective of satire is not delivering laughs, now, is it?

Despite turning out vastly better than expected, the fundamental issue at the heart of Don't Look Up - or any work of art that covers thematically similar ground - is that reality itself has become such a farce that satirizing it in an insightful manner is practically impossible. Which leaves the question why make this film in the first place. On the one hand the uninitiated won't bother checking it out because their snowflake minds tremble with fear of liberal indoctrination. On the other hand there's definitely cheaper ways of preaching to the choir and patting yourself on the back for being on the right side of current issues.

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