Downsizing: "This Small World Is Filled Of Things To See"

Director: Alexander Payne
Writer:    Alexander Payne
                Jim Taylor
Starring: Matt Damon
                Christoph Waltz
                Hong Chau
                Kristen Wiig
                Jason Sudeikis
                Margo Martindale
                Neil Patrick Harris
                Laura Dern 
                Niecy Nash
Rating:    **

Release Date: January 24, 2018

Downsizing is one of those movies that suffers badly from having a really interesting concept, but then struggling to figure out where to take the idea in an interesting and exciting way. Boasting a pretty impressive cast and one of the most original cinematic ideas I’ve heard of in a while, Downsizing never really finds its footing and never gets the chance to take flight the way I’d hoped it would.

Kristen Wiig & Matt Damon
Downsizing is the medical and scientific miracle of being able to shrink oneself down to 5 inches, therefore solving the population and pollution problem the world faces. Paul and Audrey Safranek (Damon & Wiig) are a happily married couple that decide together that downsizing would be the best option for them, after seeing an old school friend at a school reunion supposedly living the dream after being downsized. They make the bold decision to live this new life together, but things don’t go to plan, and Paul is left to rediscover himself and see where he fits into this brand new world that he has found himself in. He finds himself helping Ngoc Lan Tran (Chau), a Vietnamese women that was forced to downsize by her own country and smuggled across the world in a TV box.

The biggest problem with Downsizing comes in the form of leading man Matt Damon. Firstly his character, Paul, is a dull, uninteresting and fairly unlikable man; a man you never empathise for or find yourself supporting. When a story revolves almost solely around a character, it’s best to make them likable which writers Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor and Damon has failed to do. The other problem comes in wake of the #MeToo movement which is currently in the news worldwide. Damon has said some ignorant and uneducated things about the treatment of women, and watching him on screen in the midst of this drama made viewing awkward for me; and this also is one of the reasons why I think Downsizing has failed to set the US box office alight.

Christoph Waltz & Hong Chau
In terms of female co-stars, despite what trailers, posters and the press tour may indicate, comedy genius Kristen Wiig barely appears in the film, and her character is very one dimensional and feels almost like an after thought. On the other hand, Hong Chau is an absolute diamond, and is a clear star on the rise. Despite a controversial accent (which isn’t offensive in my opinion), her character is the best written, she is a strong survivor, and some of her monologues made me cry without hesitation. Chau provides an amazing performance throughout, and proves herself to be one to watch!

Downsizing’s trailer had me excited from the get go, with the film looking interesting and witty; however the finished product was a huge disappointment. With a confused plot line, an uninspiring leading character, and some severely underused comedic actors, Downsizing fails to take advantage of it’s full potential and finds itself shrinking amongst the box office hits currently in the cinema. Hong Chau is he saving grace of this film, but even her tremendous performance isn’t enough to make Downsizing worth the watch.

Downsizing - Trailer