Downsizing - Review
by Daniel Mohr
In theory, Downsizing’s premise is a brilliant one. The idea of solving one of mankind’s biggest problems, overpopulation, by shrinking people to the size of a doll is not only incredibly silly and simple, but for obvious reasons also very cinematically appealing, as it gives room for a number of crazy scenarios. In Alexander Payne’s treatment of the material, however, we are presented with a drama about an ordinary man with ordinary issues, whose decision to go small makes his life only worse.
Not that it would be a problem of casting; Matt Damon is convincing as an everyday American, while Christopher Waltz and Hong Chau (a rising talent from Thailand) do a fine job in supporting roles. Downsizing does not fail in the way it looks, but it really struggles narrative-wise, where it is just a painful example of unfulfilled potential. With the absence of a solid storyline to hold the film together, the viewer is left with a series of strange and ultimately meaningless episodes.
The film’s message is also unclear. Instead of asking morally challenging questions, the film’s creators focus on realistic implications of the presented solution, but fail at presenting their audience with a broader picture, as the story follows the main character throughout the running time. This results in the absence of contrast of the two differently sized worlds, which is a particularly painful thing as it diminishes the only interesting aspect of the film.
Awfully written, poorly constructed and absolutely wasting the core material, Downsizing has pretty much nothing to offer. One may appreciate a good joke or two, but that is about the extent of it.