"Downsizing is a brilliant concept that got slightly lost in the making"
Set in a not so distant future, Downsizing is a social satire that explores a fictional and comic solution to the very much real environmental and economic problems that are afflicting our world. The plot revolves around Paul Safranek, a physical therapist, who had to settle in life and get an ordinary job rather than become a successful man.
His life is made of a routine and the economical crisis is slowly putting him and his wife on their knees. Desperate for some change and wanting to take a leap of faith, Paul decides to start an adventure and jump into the idea of becoming part of the downsizing program.
Started as an experiment, downsizing is the new scientific solution to solve pollution and stop the economic crisis. The program uses science to shrink people in order for them to be able to conduct a sumptuous life. The best part of the deal? People who downsize can have their conscience clean as their lives have little impact on the planet.
For Paul this is the perfect solution to turn his life for the better. However, downsizing seems only a solution made of smoke and mirrors and Paul has to navigate through difficulties and a reality that is not at all as advertised.
As a sci-fi comedy, Downsizing is a brilliant concept that got slightly lost in the making. The idea of combining two far apart genres and make them work has huge potential, however the topic touched are too close to hearth to be discussed so lightly.
Alexander Payne’s directing is sharp and detailed, the camera follows Paul through his journey and it's never intrusive. It rather acts as a companion or sometimes as Paul’s eyes all together. The cinematography is outstanding, especially in creating the downsized reality. Every small detail is created with precision and it makes this world almost seem feasible, especially when it collides with the normal reality.
The cast ensemble has some brilliant performances. Christoph Waltz shows once again how to play the villain of the story while impersonating Dusan Mirkovic, a rich and sketchy man who doesn’t care about anyone but themselves. His character pushes Paul to live a little and dare in life, instead of just passively survive each day.
His performance is over the top and it perfectly matches Dusan’s lifestyle to a T. As the protagonist, Matt Damon has the difficult task to carry the movie on his shoulders. He has to be the hero, the entertainer and the character with whom the audience has to bond.
Even though his performance is brilliant and he brought to the screen a lovable protagonist, sometimes it is difficult to be interested in what is happening to him. Even when Paul is supposed to take risks, he always ends up being influenced by everyone else and, throughout the movie, he doesn’t seem to change and evolve.
Being a sci-fi comedy, the comic aspect in Downsizing is ever present. However, among the many extremely funny situations in which Paul finds himself, there are too many high school jokes that felt a bit immature and diminish the value of the actually brilliant comic scenes.
Even though Downsizing can be considered a good effort in bringing to the screen a satire on modern society, the comedy aspect is too childish. And while it still shines a light on where the world is headed because of every men’s selfish behaviour, the important message is concealed behind the sometimes too ridiculous story.