• Philip Leung

Don't Look Up (2021 film): Learnings

[Article contains spoilers] If a comet is going to wipe out all living creatures on earth, what would we do?

Don't Look Up is an American satirical science fiction film by Adam McKay, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as two astronomers attempting to warn humanity about an approaching comet that will destroy human civilization.


"Washington always needs a hero."

That's right, everything is a show, especially in a crisis. It offers us (false) comfort because we see a hero on center stage who will take responsibility for us. Even in history class, we remember the heroes and we hardly think about the foot soldiers.

"Ladies and gentlemen, what we thought, what the world thought was an impending and terrifying danger, turns out to be an astonishing opportunity."

In every crisis, someone would always see an opportunity to gain more power and make more money. The way to do so? By having more capital to deploy and take more risks than others. If it doesn't work out, there is always a second planet (for a selected few).

"Sometimes we need to be able to say things to another. We need to hear things… And if we can't all agree at a bare minimum that a giant comet the size of Mount Everest hurtling its way towards planet Earth is not a fucking good thing, then what the hell happened to us? I mean my god, how do we even talk to each other? What've we done to ourselves? How do we even fix it?" We choose to be blind; we choose to be deaf. People actively choose to believe in conspiracy theories because these fake news align with their beliefs and protect them from getting hurt. And in a crisis, information is scarce and opaque, which adds fuel to conspiracy theory. It is so frustrating - yet, it is most certainly inevitable. "I know that every gain must have a loss, so pray that our loss is nothing but time."

That is most certainly true. Although we are also fast running out of time. "Look up. What he's really trying to say is get your head out of your ass. And listen to the goddamn qualified scientists. We really fucked it up, fucked it up this time. It's so close I can feel the heat big time. You can act like everything is alright but this is probably happening in real time."

The blunt solution. Yet, will we really learn this lesson?