Review: Downsizing



Genre: Drama, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Duration: 135
Language: English
India Release Date: 12-JAN-2018
Pick-D-Flick Rating: 3 on 5

A social satire in which a man realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself to five inches tall, allowing him to live in wealth and splendor.

Overall Review:
Director Alexander Payne (Previous work: The Descendants, Sideways, Nebraska) shows the concept of downsizing: As human consumption has essentially destroyed our planet, a group of scientists determines that the only way to reverse the trajectory of time is to minimize not only the waste of our species but our actual size. Think about how much less damage we would do to the planet if we were only a fraction of the size we are now. Imagine how far your dollar could go when 1,000 square foot house looks much, much bigger. Everyone could have a mansion, and produce a negligible amount of planet-damaging waste.

Film starts with an intriguing “What if?…” and very quickly devolves into a bland story. The coneptual process is shown in intriguing detail, and make up the best sequences in the film. They’re imaginative and funny too. The film may not be as perfect as Payne’s previous films (Sideways / The Decendants) and it falters here and there, but it takes the prize as far as edginess goes.

Performance & Technical Review:
At 132 minutes, the film is long, but the critical establishment of Paul Safranek’s (Matt Damon) reality in which he and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are sinking, is important. Chau is the film’s most vital presence, playing a commanding yet practical woman who speaks out stern commands in heavily accented English. Rolf Lassgard as the Norwegian scientist is terrific and there are delicious cameos by Laura Linney (in a bathtub swathed in diamonds) and Neil Patrick Harris as a smarmy salesman. Production and technical elements are excellent and the sense of proportion and perspective, perfect.


PDF Verdict:
Payne’s film depicts a surreal realm which may or may not become a reality in the dim distant future as resources become thinner on the ground and the constant neglect of our environment, coupled with an increase in the world population, reach a point where the planet can’t sustain humankind. A bizarre ‘what if’ story from the creative mind behind a number of wacky existential comedies, “Downsizing” is an apocalyptic consideration for a world of imperfection, carrying a ridiculous premise while partially unpacking the malaise behind counterproductive community values. With a concept more pleasing on paper than it is on the big screen, “Downsizing” struggles to balance the little with the large, creating a rift between two worlds and alienating viewers from its eventual point of departure.


Ratings: 3 on 5
Performance: 3 on 5
Script: 3 on 5
Screenplay: 3 on 5
Music / Background Score: 3 on 5

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