Movie review: Downsizing
The premise of having a population that has been downsized to help save space and reduce waste is noble.
But in reality, how planet-conscious are we?
As writer-director Alexander Payne details in this satire, we care only about ourselves. Who cares about others, let alone Mother Earth?
The sales pitch for Leisureland, the luxurious and flawless community for the pint-sized, makes going small irresistible, especially when your assets will be increased by a hundred-fold.
For married couple Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig), downsizing means becoming instant millionaires, with their $52,000 becoming $12.5 million. Gone are the days when they have to make ends meet, and Audrey's dream of living a luxurious life is set to come true.
If only the film carries on this consumerism thread.
Instead, the story suddenly switches gear. A major character is written off and quickly forgotten, while supporting characters Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau) and Dusan (Christoph Waltz) become drivers in this hotchpotch dramedy.
Waltz is entertaining as a entrepreneurial Serbian hedonist, but it is Chau who gives a supersized performance as a Vietnamese dissident and an amputee shrunk against her will as punishment.
Next to her, Damon's doormat protagonist comes across as flat and boring. Perhaps it is the fault of the script, which does not allow him to do much but follow Chau's lead.
Then, just when you settle into the film's preachy message about class and racial divisions, Payne throws another curveball in the final act, where Downsizing become a climate change advocate.
By that time, it is too late in the game for you to care.
STARRING: Matt Damon, Hong Chau, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig
WRITER-DIRECTOR: Alexander Payne
THE SKINNY: Norwegian scientists discover that the solution to over-population is to shrink people down to about 13cm-tall. Attracted by how their savings will be stretched to an obscene amount, Paul Safranek (Damon) and his wife, Audrey (Wiig), decide to get downsized. As it turns out, being small raises a whole lot of bigger problems.