Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Don't Look Up.
Netflix's Don't Look Up is followed by some equally zany credits scenes, and here's how one of them delivers on the film's best, real-life-inspired character gag. Overseen and written by respected director Adam McKay and featuring an impressively stacked cast, the satire-infused comedy-drama is quite the creative feat. Whether genuinely likable or paradoxically lovable for their absurd and vapid nature, all of the movie's main players are quite memorable and funny. In fact, many of the side characters are just as interesting as the more central ones. Along with Timothée Chalamet's Yule and Jonah Hill's Jason, ultra-creepy, meek-voiced billionaire Peter Isherwell is definitely one of those roles.
Don't Look Up's climate change plot is a meaningful, yet comical, story that kicks off with the bleak, seemingly panic-inducing discovery of a comet that's sure to destroy Earth. Of course, most of the world doesn't have the same debilitatingly anxious reaction to the grim news as scientists Dr. Randall Mindy and Kate Dibiasky. After the duo teams up with NASA's Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe, they're in a race against the clock (or, in this case, Kate's countdown-geared diet app) to convince the rest of the world about the imminent threat that Comet Dibiasky poses to life as everyone knows it. From a dismissive, vote-focused presidential administration to internet-roaming conspiracy theorists, it's much more difficult than it would've seemed to get the globe to take its forthcoming demise seriously.
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All the way to Don't Look Up's credits scenes, modern-day societal commentary seems to saturate every detail within the film. The arguably best one shows astonishingly wealthy tech CEO Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) and President Orlean having survived Earth's comet-caused apocalypse. The mini-scene pays off an earlier joke setup, showing Orlean's gruesome, previously predicted death by "bronteroc" consumption. But it also hits on an even bleaker, much more meaningful truth about modern society. Within the incredibly allegorical project, Isherwell's character is clearly meant as an amalgamation of today's incomprehensibly wealthy CEOs and entrepreneurs that garner as much societal influence as they do cash — but without actually using their capital or power to change many of the world's problems for the better.
Isherwell's Don't Look Up character is able to use technology and algorithms to even predict how people, like Orlean, will die. However, despite that, nothing is done to truly help people, prevent any of it, or even invent other technologies to improve societal issues in everyday life. Instead, the tycoon is self-serving with his power and abilities. Adam McKay also cleverly added in his character's interest in sending himself to space — a clear parallel of mockery to the real-world's current billionaire space race. As many viewers have already noted, Isherwell seems to be a hybrid of prominent tech and tech-adjacent figures like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk.
Peter Isherwell has too much sway in politics and society overall. In one Don't Look Up scene, he even barks at Orlean (for whom he's a major donor) to speak with him in a hallway on his personal timeframe. To an extent, the president — who is supposed to work for her constituents — literally answers to this tech mogul. His sizeable net worth comes with disturbing amounts of power. As farcical and goofy as Isherwell's character is within the context of Don't Look Up, which is more a caricature of influential billionaires than anything, some facets of him hit too close to home — as was clearly the intention. Like the rest of the film, this satirical gag is well-thought-out and well-executed — albeit an unnerving look into the mirror for modern society.
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Lindsey DeRoche is a TV and movie features writer for Screen Rant. She received a BA in English, with a concentration in writing, from Plymouth State University in 2018. She's had a passion for reading, writing, TV, and movies since her early years.More From Lindsey DeRoche