Don’t Look Up, a movie gibes at our collective psyche of meh, mad rush and technology


Unlike any other apocalypse movie, Don’t Look Up points a finger to the people and the leaders of the world who joined in the mad rush of conformity, lies and collective ignorance. The allegory starts with identification of an Everest-size comet that is approaching earth, which the director and actor of the films explained as a metaphor for climate change.

Two scientists from Michigan starrer Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence struggle to convince people and the administration about the gravity of the situation and threat. The director Adam Mckay might act foolishly while depicting the funny sides of the parody movie, but it was a worth-trying allegory on climate denialism. The issue is too serious to make a silly satire and the director missed this emotion.

When the self-absorbed president of the United States played by Meryl Streep refuses to take any action to stop the ‘planet-killer’ comet as she fears it would affect her stance in the mid-term election ahead, the two scientists along with Planetary Defense Coordination Office head, Teddy Oglethorpe go to the media to deliver the message to people.

Taken to their surprise, the three end up discovering people found the matter too boring to care and sink in their collective meh and phone screen. The division among people surrounding any social, political or any other matter leaves them astounded. The world and its every affair appear on the tip of people’s thumb and on the screen and they just doomscroll instead of realizing the actual threat ahead of them.

Our algorithms can even predict how you’ll die. To 96 per cent... 96.5 per cent accuracy

The most interesting thing about this movie is that it tried to portray the entire mad rush of the world in the name of technology into one story which is quite overwhelming. What internet has done to the United States and its people - not to mention the entire world - is frightening. People have become self-obsessed, ignorant, divided, idealist and what not. Populism powers over the people because they invited it and keep declaring loudly their fealty.

The movie also takes a dig at the media. Cate Blanchett as a news host did real justice to the character with her Fox TV-like appearance. Although the movie drags politics, administration, people and businessmen through mud, it shows its share of kindness too. For instance when Jennifer Lawrence’s boyfriend starts praying and asks “Do you think it’s stupid?” and she replies, that it was kind of sweet.

However, the president remains inured after hearing the possible catastrophe the earth is going to face by saying “Do you have any idea how many ‘end of the world’ meetings I’ve had?” In the meantime, tech giant and third richest businessman played by Mark Rylance owner of a tech company named BASH appears in the scene offering a proposal to mine the comet and cultivate minerals of trillions of dollars.

People again are divided into three groups - one calling the entire comet thing a hoax, another frightened and worried of their existence and the third group supporting the proposal of mining as it offers job opportunities for people.

The triviality, selfishness, ignorance and narcissism offered by the politicians, multi-billionaire tech giants and capitalists make them ignore everything that makes sense in a normal world. The most appalling thing is they became bereft of sensitivity and thoughtfulness and opt for consumerism and its vicious cycle.

Who to blame for this? The multi-billionaire businessmen? No, not at all. As Mark Rylance played as a tech-giant says, “You call me businessman?... Business? This is evolution.. You know that BASH has over 40 million data points on you, on every decision you have made since 1994, Doctor? I… I know when you have colon polyps, months before your doctor does.”

That is where the movie made another point. These so called philanthropist, world savior billionaires know everything about us. We give offerings to them through online biometric registrations at various places, DNA, medical tests, emails, social media and what not.

He further said, “Our algorithms can even predict how you’ll die. To 96 per cent... 96.5 per cent accuracy.” Yes they do know! And that is how they decide what to do with this earth and how will we be played.

There are too many negative reviews on the movie. That’s because it made too many people too much uncomfortable by dragging their dogma du jour through the puddle.