Don’t Look Up! There will be no happy ending

Don’t Look Up! There will be no happy ending

by Cécile Faure

On 24th December, Netflix released Don’t Look up, a film written, produced, and directed by Adam McKay.

An American doctoral student accidentally discovers the existence of a comet which after calculations appears to be on its way to crash into planet Earth, resulting in the outright destruction of the entire ecosystem. All species including humans will be wiped out. 

The scientists aware of the disaster in the making try to warn the authorities, hoping that those in charge of the country may have the power to invest in the technology to save the World… That is without counting on the scale of priorities of our societies, were the individual and the collective are driven by short-term indulgence, the mis-use of information and the manipulation of data to suit the politic.

– Isn’t that an extinction-level event?
Well, let’s not be dramatic here

A blockbuster to raise awareness 

Don’t Look Up is a satirical film which uses all the artifices of blockbusters (including an incredible cast) when the survival of humanity is called into question until the salutary intervention of sexy heroes ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of all…

BUT here there is actually no happy ending. The scientist struggles with his own demons and is not always up to the task, the politician is below everything, the hero is not sexy and no more than a mere puppet. The only one with charism and keeping its trajectory is the comet that is looming on the horizon and that no one wants to look at.

And we, the spectator, end up gasping for air as random images of “soon to be extinct” pass before our eyes. At the end nobody walks in orange all-ins with a sense of achievement, and slow-motion only rhymes with destruction.

We really did have everything, didn’t we?

Ideological, industrial and political interests are the demiurges of the farce, elaborate theories and use all means of communication to create doubt and question scientific data.

One needs to look no further than the present time, and see an allegory to the management of the Covid Pandemic and the recurrent mistrust of science by a certain segment of the population, or a reference to the climate change crisis and climate skepticism. 

Fighting Fire with Fire

Out of our screens we have become fast-consumers of information, thumb-swiping and gorging our mind and anima with what we take for granted, forgetting to stop and think, to question. And by re-publishing and forwarding, we act as vector of credibility for both content and form even though we may not have taken the time to check what has been fed to us.

In our societies under the influence of social networks, each one of us has access to data, information and opinions, not necessarily factual or verified. Images and words, and beliefs spread like wildfire.

Adam McKay paints a satirical picture of a society that lets itself be tossed about by the media. And by using cinematographic art, distributed on a platform such as Netflix, he may have taken the bet to reach as many people as possible and shake us to the core, hoping to get us back to our senses.

As it is down to the individual to be more selective and understand the fundamental of science, and to the media to convey the scientific research and results for what they are: a collective effort to understand, define and revise as knowledge expands.

So that one might want to just look up, listen to the goddamn qualified scientists, and act upon it before it is too late!