In a world where shrinking is the next big thing, Paul Safranek (Matt Damon), a man whose name exists in order to be mispronounced, takes one giant small step in his life. Will this new perspective improve his life?
Touted as environmentally friendly and as an easy way to live in luxury, being shrunk to about 5″ tall is the hottest trend taking the world by storm. Seeing an opportunity for change, Paul and his wife (Kristen Wiig) decide to go for it. Not everything goes as planned, however, and Paul finds himself in a little world that has problems just like the big one he left.
Downsizing is part satire, part social commentary, part dark comedy, part high concept drama, part science fiction, and some other parts I’ve forgotten about. It gets major points for trying something different. High marks for some imaginative visual moments. Good vibes for some creative ideas. And then it loses all that good will by changing its mind every fifteen minutes or so. It’s got a whole lot to say – too bad it can’t decide what or how. Plot and tone change whilly nilly. Every time you think you might finally be getting “the point” of this movie, it turns the page and starts to become about something else. I don’t mean this as a compliment at all as the various points seem utterly disconnected and disjointed. Characters pop up once or twice, never to be seen again. Plot threads end without even a knot to keep them from unraveling. If ever a movie could be called half-baked, this is it. Either that or way too overcooked.
There are movies with deceptive trailers, and then there is Downsizing. I’ve seen the trailers and heard the ads. It looks and sounds like a movie I would enjoy. Sadly, the movie the trailer portrays is as much a work of fiction as the process of shrinking the human body is. It doesn’t exist. Neither do some of the more memorable moments highlighted in the trailers by the way – they don’t appear in the film at all.
There are a lot of little tidbits about this movie that I liked or appreciated, and if any one of them had been expanded upon and become the focus of the plot and style of this movie, we could have had a real winner on our hands. As it is, we get a lot of fuzzy ideas that are unsuccessfully trying to be oh so much bigger than they really are, and don’t have any time to grow before we’ve moved far beyond.
The only real bright spot is the endearing and amusing performance by Hong Chau, who plays a Vietnamese activist who found herself shrunken as part of her criminal sentencing by an oppressive government. But at the same time, the character seemed vaguely off and maybe even unintentionally or intentionally offensive. I’m really not sure. I’m really not sure about much of this movie to tell you the truth.
I am sure of this, though – if the trailers look good to you, don’t go see Downsizing.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“I feel like I wasted my time watching this.”
Brother Hamster did not screen this film
My rating: Two out of five hats
Downsizing shrinks into 2,668 theaters, December 22