Title: Downsizing Director: Alexander Payne Year: 2017 Run time: 2hrs 15m
“From Academy Award winner Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Nebraska) comes the hilarious film that delivers big comedy… and small Matt Damon. When scientists find a way to shrink humans to five inches tall, Paul Safranek (Academy Award winner Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to ditch their stressed out lives in order to get small and live large in a luxurious downsized community. Filled with life-changing adventures and endless possibilities, Leisureland offers more than riches, as Paul discovers a whole new world and realises that we are meant for something bigger. Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) also stars in this tremendously entertaining and original film.”
1:50 - His science machine pinged like a microwave. 3:42 - It doesn’t take a scientist to know that overpopulation is the reason we’re all screwed. 4:27 - Honey I shrunk the doctor. 12:06 - Interesting sociological concerns I hadn’t considered. 14:18 - You can’t just drop Dawson in a film with no warning! 22:16 - The whole “ooh you caught me in the bath” thing doesn’t work when you’re wearing a microphone already. 30:26 - It just all sounds too good to be true. I’m very suspicious. 35:06 - Can’t believe they’re not sweeping up the hair. My hairdresser is tidier than that, and this is a medical facility. 37:09 - Doesn’t take very long. 41:53 - I did not see that coming! 43:12 - It just looks like everything has been tilt-shifted. 46:46 - Why is he watching the BBC News? 58:41 - “I do like my boat.” Said with the most menace possible. 1:01:03 - How do they make little little phones? 1:15:21 - It’s a bit Truman show with the netting and stuff. 1:21:54 - No short jokes for the small people. 1:29:12 - “She’s waddling around like a god-damn pirate.” 1:39:12 - “Not a very successful species these Homo sapiens, even with such great intelligence. Barely 200,000 years. Alligators have survived 200 million years with a brain the size of a walnut.” 1:43:47 - Did they get the horse’s consent to be shrunk? 1:58:40 - She got his name right!
Very intriguing film, this one. I had seen an early trailer which suggested both Matt and Kristen take the path to the small life, so the fact that she bailed early came as quite a surprise. It also meant the film took a completely different path to the one I was expecting - and the claims in the intro that it is a big comedy don’t sit well with me. It was fun, but I don’t know that it was particularly funny.
I’m not 100% sure the filmmakers knew exactly what point they were trying to make either, it felt like the start of what could have been three or four very different conversations, but instead we touched upon none of them and followed the hapless Paul to his journey’s end instead. Humanity’s drain on the world, how to balance the rights of different segments of society, how science and technology can be used as a weapon as well as a tool for advancement, and of course the age old climate change, humans have ruined the world debate.
There was so much that could have been discussed, but rather than dive into any of these topics, they were just touched upon briefly before moving onwards with the particular tale of two characters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I really enjoyed the story that we were told, it just felt like a lot of missed opportunities along the way as well. Not that I’d want to watch the five hour odyssey that would result from addressing them all, of course.
Anyway, needless to say, it was a good film, fun, and thought-provoking. I thought Matt’s character was actually pretty bland but teamed up with the brilliant Hong Chau, I was hooked on their conversations from start to finish.