Downsizing Review – Spoiler Free
Downsizing is a film which comes directed by Alexander Payne who some may know as the director of Nebraska (2013). The film stars Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau and Kristen Wiig. The film is about a world in which people can shrink themselves into smaller versions of themselves so that they can live in luxury in a doll house type of town.
When I first started seeing the trailers for this film I thought it could be interesting, it has a good director and the cast it comes with are all great entertainers. But it’s not the first film I’ve seen with little people. There’s a cartoon I know about called “The Littles” which I used to watch on TV (YouTube trailer) and I always thought that The Littles was a really silly show. But now we’ve got Downsizing which seems a little similar, so I had no thoughts for this film as being anything really serious at all.
What we have for the story in Downsizing is that Matt Damon’s character, Paul, is going through some hard times at work and is sick of paying his bills and all the things in life really. He is a middle class type of guy and is sick of this lifestyle. A genius scientist from Europe invents what is known as “Downsizing” where a person can go in and have themselves shrunk down to be small. They can then buy a really big home in small neighbourhood where they can live with other small people once they sell all their possessions. Paul buys into the marketing efforts from the Downsizing company and signs up with his wife, who backs out at the last minute leaving Paul to go to the town by himself. This is where the real adventure begins for Paul and his character.
Much of the plot I’ve told happens in the beginning of the film, there’s a great deal of things that happen to Paul’s character as he explores the world of the ‘small’.
The themes in this film are interesting and the character of Paul is an odd one to get to know. What we have here is a character who doesn’t really know who he is at all and keeps wanting to follow what he sees as the ‘group’ of people who have it all and seem to live the ‘good life’ and each time he does, I think he finds it’s really just not as good there. It’s like he’s trying to find the place he fits in the best or something, but always wants to move and in the process he seems to be becoming smaller and smaller in the world. It’s an odd theme and an odd character, but in the end the meaning of the film is a nice one. It’s just Paul is a little frustrating to watch along the way.
The actors in this all do a fine job. Matt Damon is always an interesting one to watch and he does great with Paul throughout the film. Most of the funnier moments in the film I think go to Hong Chau who plays Ngoc Lan Tran, a Vietnamese character Paul encounters after he becomes small. I felt that Hong Chau did help quite a bit to bring in some much needed humour into the film. There’s also a good performance from Christoph Waltz who also brings some laughs from time to time too.
Alexander Payne did a fine job directing Downsizing. The pacing doesn’t at all feel slow and even though the run time is over 2 hours for Downsizing, I didn’t feel that it was too long. It was good to keep the focus on Paul throughout the film as I felt that as a viewer, I got to experience the entire journey of Paul’s character from start to finish and encountered new characters in the new world as he did in the film. It’s an interesting story, with an odd theme, but I feel the hardest thing to do for the director would be not making the small people or the concept of it all seem stupid or silly. Although it does a look that way a little in the trailers, in the film the concept comes across okay and it’s not too bad at all.
Overall as a comedy film, this brings an audience a few laughs and the actors all do quite well with their characters. Much of the film follows the journey Paul takes as he becomes small and he’s an interesting character to get to know. Although the concept of little people is a little silly, there are some interesting themes in the film and it does have a nice meaning in the end. If you enjoy Matt Damon or are interested in the concept, you might have a good time with this one.