Don’t Look Up starts out with two astronomers, interpreted by Leonardo di Caprio and Jennifer Lawrence, discovering a comet on a collision course with Earth. The impact will be so devastating as to end human civilization. The astronomers try to get the president of the United States to act quickly, but she plays down the seriousness of the situation. The media, on the other hand, is more interested in entertainment and gossip than in what the astronomers have to say. The situation becomes even more complicated when a tech billionaire steps in, claiming he can save humanity, but only because he thinks he can turn the comet into a source of more wealth.
The film is a satire, both witty and depressing. It is also an allegory, because the comet is meant to represent climate change: a cataclysmic event that is being ignored or underestimated by short-sighted politicians and a frivolous media. As the film’s poster says, Don’t Look Up is ‘based on truly possible events’.
Some critics have said that the film is too cynical and heavy-handed. Others have praised it as a very poignant reflection on our society. Either way, Don’t Look Up should give rise to discussion about the importance of science and the climate ‘comet’ we really are facing.