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DON’T LOOK UP (2021) Review

Charlie reviews Netflix’s DON’T LOOK UP saying “Adam McKay has made the best movie of his career.” Stream on Netflix from December 24.

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Don't Look Up (Netflix)

Don’t Look Up is streaming exclusively on Netflix from December 24th.

Synopsis

Two low-level astronomers, upon discovering that a giant meteor will strike the Earth in six months, go on a media tour to try and warn the world but find an unreceptive and unbelieving populace.

Review

Adam McKay has been one of the directors and writers in Hollywood that has consistently delivered hilarious comedy after hilarious comedy. Since his directorial debut in 2004 with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the man has gone on to make some movies which have made him gather some Oscar nominations – those include The Big Short and Vice. So, after his last movie, Vice, getting a total of eight Oscar nominations, McKay is following that up with a film with a world-ending premise and an all-star cast. But, is it worth your time?

From the opening scene, Adam McKay proves that Don’t Look Up is worth your time. It is filled to the brim with snappy dialogue, larger-than-life characters and some hilarious commentary on modern day politics that feels very on the nose. If you don’t like comedy that is very relevant and shoved into your face, you will hate what McKay has crafted here but for me, I was enamoured by what he has been able to made.

The cast are all fantastic. For a film with many a-list actors and actresses, quite a few don’t get much to do but as an ensemble piece, the film absolutely thrives. Leonardo DiCaprio is sensational in the film as Dr. Randall Mindy. In recent years, DiCaprio has been played these very loud, exuberant characters (like Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus, The Wolf of Wall Street) but in Don’t Look Up, the Academy-Award winning actor gives a performance that does allow him to be very loud and confident but for the majority of the runtime, he is a quiet, “nerdy” scientist that lacks the confidence he needs to speak up against this catastrophic event. Jennifer Lawrence makes her return after a two year break and she is good in the film. While she is very prominent in the movie, she never stood out to me as one of the highlights in the stacked cast. Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan and Mark Rylance are all great in the film too. They really do represent the rich side of society in this “Trump era” that only really care about themselves and are exploiting this comet that will strike the Earth, eliminating all life, as a way to profit off of it.

The pacing is also incredibly tight. For a film that runs at nearly two hours and twenty minutes long, that can leave some movies with a hefty runtime to drag yet Don’t Look Up earned every minute of its length. No moment ever feels like it is dragging and nothing ever felt like it was being rushed through to get to its climax. Throughout the movie, you feel this impending doom and the tension that is built, especially in the second half of the film, which keeps you on the edge of your seat in suspense and the payoff at the ending certainly is emotionally satisfying and beautifully poetic.

Verdict

Adam McKay has made the best movie of his career with Don’t Look Up. It is a tense look at how the public would act to a world-ending event whilst delivering knockout performances from its cast – especially DiCaprio who gives his finest performance since The Wolf of Wall Street. It is an allegory for Climate Change and bangs us on the head with a message that we need to act now before it is too late in a way that is dark yet filled with some hilarious moments. Dark comedies really don’t get much better than this!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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