University of Michigan graduate student Kate DiBiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), working at the observatory on her thesis, discovers in a telescope an unknown comet with a diameter of ten kilometers, which is moving towards Earth. Kate’s supervisor, Professor Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), performs calculations and finds out that the comet will collide with the Earth in about six and a half months, and the consequences of the planet’s collision with such a large celestial body (the diameter of the famous Tunguska meteorite was 75 meters) will inevitably lead to destruction life on earth.
Randall and Keith report this to NASA, and the head of the Planetary Defense Division (such a division in NASA actually exists. – Approx. Exler) Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan) begins to interact with them about this problem. Oglethorpe contacts President Jane Orlin (Meryl Streep) and demands an urgent meeting.
The president receives Teddy, Kate and Randall at the White House, but Jane is not impressed by the shocking news: she has parliamentary elections in three weeks, she is trying to shove her candidate into the Supreme Court, around whom a sex scandal flares up, so she does not may now allow additional hype to rise. Therefore, the official decision of the President of the United States is to “keep quiet and reflect.”
Then Kate and Randall decide to go to the media: they come to visit the super-popular morning show The Daily Rip with Brie (Kate Blenchet) and Jack (Tyler Perry) as hosts. When they realize that the hosts of the show do not take seriously the threat of a global catastrophe, Kate throws a tantrum on the air, after which she becomes the heroine of stupid memes on the Internet. And the much more restrained Professor Randall Mindy was also liked by the Internet public – he was called a “sexual astronomer”, and Bree turned her attention to him.
Honestly, I did not expect this from Adam McKay. He worked on Saturday Night Live, did some wacky comedies with Will Ferrell like “The Anchorman” or “Back Cops”, but then went on to a bigger level with “The Big Short”, which was about the global economic crisis, and the film “Power”, dedicated to Dick Cheney and his influence on the entire world order, and I did not like this film at all, because it was such a weird attempt to cross SNL jokes with manipulative agitation in the style of Michael Moore.
But, of course, I was going to watch his new film: both because it employs a whole constellation of good actors, and because it was talked about from all sides, and the critics more often scolded the picture, and the audience, on the contrary, praised it. Well, I thought, let’s see what he filmed there.
This film I have, as they say, immediately “went”. The very first scene with a visit to the President of the United States clearly demonstrated that the creators of the picture intend to limit themselves in nothing, and besides, this is not a parody of Emmerich-type disaster films (also “Armageddon” by Michael Bay, of course, immediately comes to mind here , however, “Armageddon” is also more of a parody, although Bay, of course, did not set such a task for himself, he just has such a manner of staging), namely satire, and the satire is quite harsh.
And then it was important for me whether McKay would be able to maintain the level of this satire and how to kick in the sensitive places of everyone who, in this case, it makes sense to reach out, and whether he would be blown away in some episodes. So no, I’m happy to report that this is exactly where the level of sharp and caustic (it’s a compliment, because I use these terms in the sense of “not toothless”) satire is maintained throughout the film, not sagging anywhere.
Again, it was very interesting how McKay would make the final of this picture, because, as you understand, there were very, very many options, and his version of the final seemed to me the only correct one, and the cat Bublik and I shake hands with the director and actors for the final many, many times, previously, of course, having treated them with an antiseptic.
As they say, everyone got “nuts”: the presidency, politicians, world elites, owners of supercorporations, TV presenters, bloggers, tiktokers, ordinary users – they are also a “consumer society”, outcasts, conspiracy theorists, scientists, charlatans and even skateboarders, although the skateboarders, to be honest, in this film looked more reasonable than many others.
Critics, when talking about this film, often mention the film “The Tail Wags the Dog” (by a strange coincidence, I made a film section on Exler.ru in order to write a review of this film, but I never wrote this review), but I’m not very I understand phrases from the series “this is such a ‘tail wags the dog’ in a new way.” Hell, it’s not “The Tail Wags the Dog”! Yes, the old movie had a great idea of the president starting a fake war to divert the public’s attention from his sex scandals, and there was a great satire there too – at least the first half of the movie – but in the second half, this picture was blown into sheer incoherence , and the ending was frankly leaked there.
Here comes to mind an excellent satirical black humor comedy by Bobkett Goldwaite “God Bless America”, in which the world of modern show business was brilliantly pulled through, and this picture was made absolutely uncompromisingly (which is why it is valuable), so, of course, it is very famous never achieved.
But in this case, what is good about Adam McKay’s new film is that it hooked almost everyone: it is widely discussed in social networks (at least English-speaking, Spanish-speaking (there it is called No mires arriba) and United Statesn-speaking), it is scolded or, what much less often, critics praise, and this is definitely one of the most notable films of 2021, and it has already been quite officially included in some solid lists there (I’m too lazy to look for which ones), it is already included in all sorts of nominations for film awards – and they do it right.
Because it is in any case a very, very significant and iconic film! Which tells us all one simple thing that we knew very well before. The fact that politicians are hypocrites, manipulators, dishonest people and at times just specific idiots. The fact that the very crowd that absorbs the stupefying products of modern media is much more important than the fact that the next “singing cowards” (relatively speaking) parted with the next rapper than the fact that our planet will be fucking destroyed in six months.
(Just in case, I note that Ariana Grande is a really great singer, and the fact that she played herself here as “singing cowards” shows her good level of self-irony.)
The acting in the film is excellent. DiCaprio and Meryl Streep were pretty surprised by some of the critics because they both ended up with completely new and very cool characters. Professor Randall Mindy in DiCaprio is a nervous scientist with bouts of panic attacks at the beginning of the picture, gaining confidence in himself “sexy astronomer” after his success in social networks, and at the end – a man who clearly understood what all this network fame is worth closer to by the end. An excellent role, very bright and diverse, and this is another facet of this, of course, a very outstanding actor. I don’t like him everywhere and not always, but he has roles to which I just take my hat off Bagel the cat (because I don’t wear hats myself) – and here I did it.
Meryl Streep is no less wonderful and bright actress, and she played the role of Jane Orlin with full dedication, and filled it with excellent irony. Well, yes, Jane Orlin is more like Trump in the guise of Hillary Clinton (paradoxically, yes), and everything in the script was thought up cool and played great.
Kate Blanchet in the role of the famous TV presenter Bree – she was heavily made up, making her almost unrecognizable from the beginning, but the further, the more this wonderful actress appeared in this character, and few people could play this role so well. And there were some interesting moments with her heroine, but it makes sense to discuss it only with those who have already watched the film, so I won’t spoil it.
The image of the president’s son and part-time chief of staff named Jason played John Hill, and there, of course, the involvement of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in his father-in-law’s affairs is played up. Jason also turned out to be brightly satirical, while not quite buffoonish (well, maybe a little), but rather banter, and Jonah Hill portrayed him brilliantly.
I liked Jennifer Lawrence as Kate. I practically don’t know this actress, I only remember her in the title role in a very mediocre film “Passengers”, but here everything is played with dignity, and her heroine looked authentic both with her tantrums (of course, explainable), and with her subsequent adventures in the company with seemingly dangerous, but later quite familiar skateboarders, among whom was the heir to the Atreides house, who looked quite authentic here, and, to be honest, I don’t understand the annoyance of many critics about the appearance of Timothée Chalamet in this role – his character turned out to be quite funny .
Mark Rylance (what a great guy he was in The Trial of the Chicago Seven) here portrayed a certain collective image of Tim Cook (primarily, and I don’t understand point blank why many critics call this character Steve Jobs), Richard Branson and very slightly Elon Musk (simply because the owner of the most powerful IT company also has his own rockets), but there was still no parody of a specific character – it is rather the image of some modern billionaire, who seems to be the savior of mankind, but in reality turns out to be .. Well, in general, what they all turn out to be in the end. And we must pay tribute to Mark Rylance, he portrayed this character in a very interesting way, the image turned out to be very unusual. (Well, the presentation for him was made exactly in the spirit of similar presentations of all large companies: from Apple to Samsung, Huawei and smaller fish.)
What is the result? Brilliant satire, well done (in my opinion, of course) from start to finish. Wonderful actors and actresses who not only played their roles well, but downright showed everything they are capable of, and they are capable of a lot. Director McKay (who is also the author of the script) surprised me in a good sense of the word, because I did not expect anything like this from him.
For me, this film is one of the main film events of 2021, although the film was released closer to the New Year. Excellent, just excellent, impressed!
PS Wait for the first scene after the credits. The second scene after the long credits can no longer be expected: it is completely optional and I don’t understand why they made it at all. However, I understand that now you look at it anyway.
PPS I read that several “opinion leaders” call this picture “left agitation”. It really surprised me. I don’t like the left myself (much like I don’t like the right), but where is any inspired Democrat who saves the planet after the Republicans, led by Trump in a skirt, practically destroyed it? Is there one here? There is not? Well, you don’t have to drive then, really.
Don’t Look Up
Director: Adam McKay Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Kate Blanchet, Rob Morgan, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Tomer Sisley
Satirical comedy, USA, 2021, 138 min.