Don’t Look Up (2021) ending explained – will Dr. Mindy save the world?

December 24, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Ending Explained, Film, Netflix, Streaming Service
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This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Don’t Look Up (2021) and will contain spoilers.

Ready Steady Cut film critic, M.N. Miller, called Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up “A savage American political satire and the best since Wag the Dog. In his own words, he timed that s**t perfectly.”

A couple of Michigan State academics, Ph.D. student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonard Dicaprio) have discovered a deadly comet hurtling towards Earth. The leaders in the movie, portrayed by government scientist Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep), and her chief of Staff son, Jason Orlean (Jonah Hill), are presented with the information. Do they snap into action? Ready to become heroes? To serve and save the American people?

Not exactly.

They are about to win back America’s trust with the help of a rowdy and racist space cowboy (Ron Pearlman) to blow that sucker apart when BASH owner and operator Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) throws his two cents in. How? Because he is a wealthy contributor and wants to monetize the thing. Why? Because it has a rare and rich mineral, they can expand their business to develop new technological ventures.

Hey, no risk, no reward. Right? What could go wrong?

Netflix film Don’t Look Up (2021) ending explained

The ending illustrates themes of how absurd things have gotten over the past almost 60 months. Government officials who do not have resumes to be in the positions they’re in. (The head of NASA was an Anosteglogist in the private sector). The government charges private citizens for essentials that are already paid for. (A General charges Dibiasky and Mindy for snacks that are for free). And finally, politicians and big businesses continually show they do not care about individual lives or even communities at risk. 

They have no social conscience.

So, when BASH fails to break up the comet while still being able to mine it (sound familiar with government searching for oil in the Dakota’s?), President Orlean and Isherwell run for the escape ship. Orlean offers a seat to Dr. Mindy, but he declines — he’d rather stay on Earth and die with his family and friends. When the world ends, Dibiasky, her new high school boyfriend (played by Timothee Chamalet), Oglethorpe, Mindy, his wife, and two sons perish. 

In the ending credits scene, Orlean’s and Isherwell arrive on Earth in the escape hatch, as naked as the day they were born, with a couple of other dozen officials. (Who, coincidentally, are all too old to procreate and jumpstart Earth’s population). Orlean is killed immediately by an ostrich-like dinosaur creature. And soon, so would the others.

What does it all mean? The film is a metaphor for not looking at the bigger picture and caring about people for a while. When the few survivors return to Earth, they never think about what they encounter when they arrive. How they would survive when they landed and managed to live. Their actions cost the people they were entrusted to care about their lives. So, their selfish, shortsighted actions finally caught up with them when they landed on Earth.

Their actions before the comet cost them their humanity. When they arrived after the comet, their efforts cost them their own lives.

What did you think of the ending of the Netflix film Don’t Look Up (2021)? Comment below!

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