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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

Don't Look Up ★★★

Adam McKay

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Rob Morgan, Cate Blanchett

Fresh off his least-comedic film to date Vice, Adam McKay brings us star-studded comedy-disaster movie Don't Look Up. This satirical telling of an asteroid hurtling towards Earth somehow feels a little too close to home in our current climate, despite prying in to the narcissistic influence world in a Black Mirror-esque fashion.

The cast list is almost as long as the film's run time, with Leonardo DiCaprio leading the way in expert style as Dr. Randall Mindy; he is brilliant! A scene just before the final act of the film sees Dr. Mindy let "rip" on a daytime talk show; the scene shows DiCaprio off so well and we really feel his pent-up aggravation. Jennifer Lawrence is equally great as Kate Dibiasky; she delivers some excellent one liners that re real scene stealers. The film shows both characters' anxieties, and actually this is a theme that carries throughout.

The anxiety of the unknown is something that so many of us have had to deal with in the past 20 months (my word), and in a character study capacity this is done really well. But when looking at how something so catastrophic would affect the planet, this feels a little thin. In part because there are so many characters made relevant but also because of the scale of such a disaster. Shots of hands and the sides of faces are used to show these anxieties and although brilliant when used, the close-up technique is lost towards the end of the film.

The script is so intricate and shows off each of its actors. Meryl Streep in her best performance in a while has an effortless chemistry with Jonah Hill, and there's an improvised feel to a lot of their conversation. Add in an always note-perfect Cate Blanchett, a strangely brilliant Timothée Chalamet and a somewhat overlooked Rob Morgan, and this is a real recipe for success. Mark Rylance too captures a peculiarity in the script and adds an extra tone throughout (however his final scene is really weird and it made me cringe).

Although some moments of social interaction are taken too far and become unrealistic, this is a mostly funny look in to an exploitative world. The performances are great, the script is strong and the direction is clear, but the plot becomes a little muddled, but the 'sex, drama and fame always sells more than science' theme that is apparent from start to finish oft feels unsympathetic.

Don't Look Up available now on Netflix

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