Film Review: Don’t Look Up (2021)

Don’t Look Up has to be the most disappointing film of 2021. With some of the best actors in Hollywood, Adam McKay the director of Vice and the Big Short and an important and timely premise it promised to be the Dr. Strangelove of our time. I wanted to love this film. How did it end up so horribly wrong? In one of my all time fav films, the 1964 black comedy masterpiece Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick addressed one of the most dire issues of the time: mutually assured destruction through nuclear war between the US and Russia, through comedy. The film artfully reduced the two opposing superpowers into squabbling ego driven children, loaded with dark political satire, a comedy of errors that never lost sight of what was really at stake, with one of the best endings in film history. Hoping to be the Strangelove of our time McKay’s vision of our modern world faced with the impending annihilation from an asteroid which is a metaphor for our global inaction on climate change. Instead of biting political satire we get a insufferable movie long joke that gets less and less funny. Trivialising the dire climate change to the point of a cartoon with a totally ridiculous ending. The brilliant cast cannot save the film from its heavy handed metaphor, cynicism and tritness. It revels in its own ugliness and itself becomes part of the endless culture war it portrays. The people who need change their beliefs and behaviours won’t watch this film as it’s smugness and depiction of them will turn them off. And for the rest of us who actually care about the situation it leaves us with a hollow joke that isn’t funny or true. Cheap, crass, cynical and most depressing of all a great missed opportunity. 5/10


Film Review: The Lost Daughter (2021)

Maggie Gyllenhaal with her directorial debut has created a film in ‘The Lost Daughter’ that is so unsettling that it could be considered one of the best psychological horror films of 2021. The film centres on a middle aged woman on holiday in Greece who becomes fixated on young mother she encounters on the beach which slowly reveals her tortured past with motherhood. Olivia Colman once again proves she is one of the best actresses in Hollywood with a performance as nuanced, tragic and complex as her Oscar winning role in ‘The Favourite’. Perhaps the best part of the film is its meditations on motherhood itself. Unique among films about motherhood it shows a woman who buckles under the pressure of being a ‘good mother’ and how unattainable the ideal of motherhood can be. As a son I found myself being confronted with the notion that sometimes mothers can’t bare to be around their own children which reminded me of the film ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’. Perhaps most mothers at some point fantasies about escaping the pressures of motherhood. The film also mediates on the cost of selfish acts and the idea that the grass isn’t always greener. The Lost Daughter shows us the unsettling grey truth of motherhood between the Maddona and Whore dichotomy of our culture. There is no such thing as a bad mother or good mother just degrees of women coping and struggling with an unrealistic ideal. The film builds through powerful flashbacks of Olivia Colman’s past to a tragic ending. A film not for easy viewing or easy answers. But if you brave the grey world of The Lost Daughter you will find a film with a powerful message and and even more powerful performance. Highly recommend it. 9/10