Don’t Look Up: Satire or Something Darker?
Leonardo DiCaprio’s new movie, ‘Don’t Look UP’, was intended by Adam McKay to be a satire but, having seen it on Netflix, I am not so sure. I suspect that he has created something much much darker.
Historically speaking, satire is an extremely hard genre to pull off and despite the brilliant performances from DiCaprio and Jennifer Laurence, Adam McKay has only managed to offer us an example of exactly how not to write satire.
Satire, as an art form, can be seen in the history of most classical cultures but common to all of them is the intention to reveal truth through exaggeration. In fact, good satire addresses one of our greatest human weaknesses, pomposity and self-righteousness. By bursting the bubble of our pomposity and self-righteousness satire points us, or is intended to point us, toward a better world.
Most importantly, satire is not meant to ridicule for its own sake; nor is it intended to insult.
George Orwell’s book, ‘Animal Farm‘, is a brilliant example of satire because it is true not because the characters are funny.
The first half of ‘Don’t Look UP’ DiCaprio and Laurence (as Kate Dibiasky and Dr Randall Mindy) spend their time repeating the same scene over and over again. They try to tell the government that a comet is going to destroy the Earth but the government is not interested. They then try to tell the media but the media is not interested. And so the cycle repeats – ad nauseam – until even the Trump supporters in the audience understand that the comet in this film is a metaphor for ‘Man-Made-Global-Warming’. Depending on your level of comprehension this part of the film is either boring or something akin to being hit over the head with a dead fish for an hour.
Eventually the American government with the female Trump (played enthusiastically by Merryl Streep) decide to deflect the comet but then change their mind in order to mine the comet for its minerals. The metaphor for fracking and drilling for oil and coal would be obvious to a five year old and it feels like the script was written by one. The constant references to ‘peer review’ are heavy handed and thrown in like petrol bombs at a football game.
Eventually, the comet becomes visible in the night sky, so the MAGA president advises people “Don’t look up” and this refrain is parroted by all the Trump supporters, while the wiser, saner heads of their opponents advise the opposite.
Now here’s the thing, the film is so blatant in its message that even Greta Thunberg would have to admit that this film totally inverts truth. All of us can see that the elites, our governments, the Extinction Rebellion all have the protection of the State. On social media, any scepticism of the Green Agenda will get you censored at best and cancelled at worst. The one thing you are not allowed to do is notice climate reality.
So what are we to make of a film that obviously seeks to obscure truth and make it even more difficult to question the official narrative? We call it what it is: ‘Propaganda’, and it is propaganda of the worst kind.