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Downsizing Movie Review: A Novel Idea Almost Downsized in Execution

Written by Varsha Pillai
The sci-fi universe is a realm of alternate realities and infinite possibilities, barring a few rules. Welcome to a world created by a group of scientists in Norway who believe that shrinking people to miniature versions can save planet Earth from impending doom. The benefits of being downsized are highly extolled and they range from reducing the carbon footprint to slowing climate change to addressing overpopulation.

This is the premise for Alexander Payne’s comedy sci-fi, Downsized. The movie begins in the near imaginable future where the discovery of Downsizing has begun to revolutionize humanity. Colonies for downsized people mushroom everywhere, with governments offering tax-credit incentives for those who choose to. Apart from tax-benefits, the other benefits are equally lucrative; reduced expenses and promises for a magnanimous life. All these wonderful benefits come with a catch – the process of downsizing is irreversible.

Here come Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) who seriously consider the possibility of living life large by downsizing. A conversation with Paul’s friend Dave (Jason Sudeikis) entice them to enroll for a spot at Leisureland, a community for modern day Liliputians in New Mexico.

Paul undergoes the downsizing procedure and wakes up to realize that Audrey changed her mind and chooses to stay normal. Now, Paul is in Leisureland all by himself. In Leisureland, Paul meets his Serbian neighbor Dusan Mirkovic (Christoph Waltz) and a Vietnamese insurgent Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau). Dusan is a playboy who schemes big money by smuggling a Cuban cigar and make thousand little cigars for the downsized residents. Tran’s hamlet in Vietnam is destroyed to Smithereens and she was forcefully downsized and she loses her leg.

Downsizing Movie
Source – Variety

What follows is the budding of a romantic affair between Paul and Tran which makes Paul stumble up to the realization that there is no escape from accepting one’s truth regardless of the universe one find themselves in.

The movie opens to great expectations which escalate as we see the exhilarating ‘downsizing’ procedure post which the graph of the movie is on a decline. Brilliant performances by Waltz and Chau don’t distract us from the boring protagonist Paul. Matt Damon doesn’t have a lot to do in a unidimensional character that is clichéd from the start. Another problem is that the movie tries to restrict itself into a genre. The novelty of ‘downsizing’ somehow disarrays when the movie tries to fit into a genre.

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About the author

Varsha Pillai

She’s human. At least that’s what she’ll tell you. Dare you tell her that she has a good sense of humor and be prepared to be the lab rat for all her lame jokes for the rest of your life. Apart from that, she’s got a master’s degree in ‘Being a 4 a.m. friend’ and is currently pursuing her PhD in making instant noodles.

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