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movie review downsizing @duffythewriter

Downsizing – Opens Boxing Day at all good Australian Cinemas

I had no idea about Downsizing when I went to the preview screening, and the people I’ve mentioned the movie to haven’t heard much either, so let me get you up to speed.

In the not too distant future, Norwegian scientists pitch a solution to the overpopulation and waste crisis which is suffocating the earth.  Drastic measures need to be taken, and these scientists discover a way to shrink humans to just 5 inches tall.  This becomes a global phenomenon and a hopeful solution to the world’s problems. Tiny communities are set up across America, and people are signing up at Expos to choose the community they would like to live in as tiny families. These shrunken cities have a dome covering them to protect the shrunken humans from predators such as bugs and birds, but everything else is the same, just miniature.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) Safronek are a couple of American battlers. Paul has worked at the same job as an occupational therapist all his adult life, and they both live in the house that Paul grew up in. They keep trying to purchase a home, but a mortgage is just out of reach, and they are rejected time and again. They are in a rut and so turn to the option of ‘downsizing’. Heading off to an Expo they realise that their $100,000 in assets equates to a whopping $12million if you’re small. Communities have little crime, everyone is happy, wealthy, and can explore new job opportunities servicing the tiny community.  They decide to take the leap as a couple and make the move to become small and live the dream.

Downsizing Movie

Duffy’s Thoughts On Downsizing

Alexander Payne directed, produced and co-wrote the screenplay for this movie and the little nuances he is known for in The Descendents and About Schmidt are laced throughout this movie. However, the melancholy and darker humour he is known for is left out. Downsizing follows Paul’s journey into a new tiny world, and it’s here he meets the supporting cast who will induct him into his new life in miniature.  Christoph Waltz plays the fabulous Dusan, a flamboyant Eurotrash millionaire who has found plenty of ways to make a buck or two on the black market, along with his slightly unsettling brother Konrad (Udo Kier). Hong Chau plays the quite wonderful Ngoc Lan Tran, who was the sole survivor of the ‘TV box incident’ and who brings the bulk of the humour and tearjerker moments. Hong Chau has great onscreen chemistry with Damon and brings out an awkward comedic side of him that seems to work.

The movie takes you through both the up and down sides of being small and explores, albeit it lightly, the scenarios which would happen if we went down this route. Yes, people may be richer, but will everyone be better off? If dictators harnessed the technology and shrunk activists and refugees, what happens to them? Should a small person be able to vote in a big world if they aren’t paying taxes? Some of these questions are addressed in the movie, but let’s not forget this is a sci-fi comedy which is released on Boxing Day. It’s not meant to be a serious piece of work addressing the foreboding end of the world; it’s meant to be a sci-fi comedy exploring the what-ifs of the future.

Downsizing has enough of a story arc, comedy, and tender moments to take you through the 2hour film time without wriggling in your seat, or checking your watch.  It’s an original idea, with a great cast and I recommend if you’re looking to escape the heat over Christmas and hit a cool, air-conditioned movie theatre go see Downsizing.