‘Don’t Look Up’ on Netflix is a very good satire on the people of the Earth, which happens in an alternate, but very familiar reality. It is easy to believe that it could all just happen right now.
Two astronomers discover a comet that is heading towards the Earth and are trying to warn people but things do not go according to their plan – or common logic for that matter. Humans are distracted by other things, more important to them, like celebrities and politics. When during the Cold War there was a threat of the atomic bomb attack, people hoped that those in charge would not destroy the Earth and humanity, because they love their children. Here Madam President forgets about her son, so the message seems to be – no, they only love themselves, power and money.
Obviously, it is easy to put all the blame on the rich but everybody is guilty here. People only care about the news on tv and their new phone – the new model of the Bash Life – that will make sure that their ‘sad feelings never ever ever return’. Humans are all like Dr. Randall Mindy, who according to the inventor of the new phone just runs ‘towards pleasure and away from pain’. But that is not the right way of dealing with sadness, pain or fear. In reality, the only way to deal with these feelings and move forward is to face them and feel them, and not to avoid them.
So everything that happens around these two main characters seems very surreal. Instead of mobilizing people, Kate Dibiasky is called crazy and her boyfriend breaks up with her over the Internet by writing an article about their finished relationship. Their appearance on tv is ignored by the public and dimmed by the celebrity break up. When the White House finally gets interest in their revelation, the whole rescue mission is turned into a circus. As we find out ‘Washington always needs a hero’ so this mission that could be done remotely is given to an awarded soldier.
This satire is supposed to make fun of the familiar figures and events – the populist president, the billionaire who can just fly away into space, the scientist called sexy and even people arguing over science. It is a mirror we suppose to see ourselves in and think about what we would have done in a similar situation. But the problem is, we are already in such circumstances and we are acting exactly as irrational as the people portrayed in the film. The comet could be replaced by the climate crisis. And the idea of the rich leaving the planet to its doom and starting over somewhere else is not strictly symbolic. But we can also change, just like Randall did. It is not too late.
The comet also symbolizes the pandemic and the way it made us realize what is really important in life: family, friends, love and always being honest to ourselves.