The movie Don't Look Up has split critics while becoming one of Netflix's biggest hits ever. I talk with director Adam McKay about the film's critical reception, his other ideas for climate movies, and the state of activism in Hollywood.
Just watched it and I laughed till I almost cried. No surprise that the "pundits" are all over the map. The movie skewers the hell out of the pretensions that have embedded themselves in a society parasitised by social media. Some of those critters are themselves in the movie review business and this thing had to hit awfully close to home for them.
Everyone now has a public voice, or at least the possibility of one. To expect all those voices to be on the same page or to all be well-informed is a mistake. It's chaos out there, and not a great time for truth funk given the over-arching issue of a drastically changing climate. Every day brings new "data" - record snowfall in Pakistan, serious flooding in Brazil and France, landslides in Colorado, on and on it goes.
Speaking of chaos, nonlinear systems with feedback can and do behave that way. The climate is such a system. The worry is not strictly about global warming. That might simply be a prelude. Warm the world enough to melt the Greenland ice cap – flushing all that fresh water into the North Atlantic – and you have a much bigger problem. That’s about as nonlinear as you can get on the planet and it’s happened many times in the past.
The thermohaline circulation which currently moderates the earth’s climate (we’re in an interglacial cycle within a larger glacial epoch at this point) could shut down. Without that circulation to distribute the heat that gathers at the equator, the climate might transition to another much colder state. If that happens, there’s no short-term return path to the one we’re on now. The bad news is that we have no way of predicting where we are on the current trajectory, how much we’ve done to perturb it, and whether we’ll slip onto one of those funky orbits, one that has us visiting some other system state.
None of that fits into an easy sound-bite, not for those who are just starting to inform themselves, and certainly not for many in the political class. I liked the movie because it does the dirty work of blowing up those pretensions, and doing so with a bunch of belly-laughs. That's a good start down a very difficult road to clarity.
The critics are totally missing the point and are stupid. It was brilliant. I may have to watch it again. There were parts - like they words in the song at the concert - that I didn't quite get but the ones I did were TFF. I also really liked the treatment at the end.
The trick of course is how to prepare adaptation and resiliency measures (as well as mitigate) because we won't have 'an end' and we need plans in place to avoid misery and loss to the greatest extent possible.
The best/worst/funniest/most depressing moving I've seen in a long time.
The screening- the favorite part of the movie was the ending- that is also a big part of the climate crisis- this urge people have to see how far you can push things before it blows up in your face. The fascination with destruction.
I write about gardening with a strong climate change bend. Why on earth would a movie be made showing indifference to crises and waste actors and viewers time to make and watch more indifference? What did I miss? Something good? Please please tell me the good.