HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
   
 
  Downsizing Small Or NothingBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgård, Ingjerd Egeberg, Udo Kier, Søren Pilmark, Jason Sudeikis, Maribeth Monroe, James Van Der Beek, Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, Margo Martindale, Mary Kay Place, Pepe Serna
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Five years ago, Norwegian scientist Dr Jorgen Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård) made an incredible breakthrough in the laboratory he worked in, pioneering the endeavours to make the world a better place by creating a method of economical living. Now, there comes a time to reveal the results to the public at a conference, just to explain what has been happening this past half-decade, and the attendees are stunned when they see his assistant bring in a box, announce the doctor, then lift the lid to reveal him standing there, five inches tall. Or five inches not-so-tall, as the big idea is to shrink everyone to make the planet's resources last far longer, and almost completely eliminate pollution...

Seems every month that goes by, someone devises a new way of saving the world through environmental means, but it also seems that those problems are never overcome and the warnings remain in place. This was part of director Alexander Payne's screenplay (written with Jim Taylor), an original story for a change for him, and as is the case with concepts that were not merely new, but untried in the entertainment realm, Downsizing utterly flopped, with audiences apparently expecting a comedy and getting more of a contemplative drama with humorous asides. Oh, and it was science fiction too - but not in the manner fifties cult classic The Incredible Shrinking Man was.

So we didn't have scenes of a diddy Matt Damon running for his life away from hungry cats or spiders which would be normal-sized and thus not a threat had he been of his original dimensions. This was closer to a musing over the potential for utopia, and if it could ever be achieved when humanity is so far from utopian itself: it can dream up the concept of a perfect world, yet it always seems to sabotage any such good intentions through simply not being able to live up to its own high standards. No matter how hard we tried, Downsizing told us, the fact remained that we were a bit rubbish, really, and any hope we could improve was very much tempered by our innate drawbacks.

Nobody gets murdered in this film, so it wasn't a bleak exercise in self-criticism from Payne on behalf of the entire human race, and nobody is so oppressed they cannot find a way out of their situation to get by elsewhere, but the pressing nature of our grimmer aspects was detectable nevertheless. Damon played Paul Safranek, whose name constituted a running joke that nobody could pronounce it correctly, one small but visible reason why perfection will always be out of our grasp. Others popped up too: science is making amazing discoveries but cannot cure his mother's illnesses; when she dies, he is forced to stay in the same house he grew up in since he cannot afford anywhere better; his dream job of being a surgeon had to fall by the wayside because of money restrictions, so now he is an occupational therapist; and so on.

These snags, ranging in seriousness, mount up, which is why Paul and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) settle on the best option: get shrunk and move to what is an apparent utopia, where their literally reduced cost of living means they will be millionaires and live the high life under a huge tent to keep the animals out. Once there, Paul makes all sorts of new friends, and finds all sorts of new problems, again because people's grasp is shorter than their reach, though he did at least get to meet character actors of the calibre of Christoph Waltz and Udo Kier. They would be close to stealing the movie had it not been for Hong Chau as Ngoc Lan Tran, a cleaning lady with one foot who was forcibly downsized by the Vietnamese dictatorship and puts Paul's suffering into perspective. She spoke in broken English and threatened to be a caricature, yet Hong divined the humanity there that made us think as much as, maybe more than, the apocalyptic ruminations that closed the film. The point appeared to be, you can't save us all, some of us are beyond that while others can move forward, but acceptance of our limitations was a big part of peace of mind. Music by Rolfe Kent.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 159 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Alexander Payne  (1961 - )

American writer/director of offbeat comedy drama. Payne's first film was the abortion satire Citizen Ruth, but it was 1999's acclaimed, Oscar-nominated satire Election brought the director to prominence. The affecting road movie About Schimdt showcased one of Jack Nicholson's best ever performances, while 2004's Sideways gained Payne yet more awards and acclaim. Seven years later came the Hawaii-set follow up, The Descendants, which was similarly lauded, then shortly afterwards the multi-Oscar-nominated and expertly judged Nebraska. Downsizing, on the other hand, was a costly sci-fi flop.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: