|Directed by||:||Alexander Payne||Produced by||:||Megan Ellison, Mark Johnson, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor||Starring||:||Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig||Production company||:||Ad Hominem Enterprises||Country||:||United States|
‘Downsizing’ film review: A big film about little people
It’s hard to say what’s better about the first half of Alexander Payne’s wonderfully weird — or is it weirdly wonderful? — Downsizing: the audacity of its premise, or the delicious skill with which Payne executes that premise, detail by comically ingenious detail.
The fact that the film shifts discernibly in the second half, going places and tackling ideas one wouldn’t necessarily expect, will surely disappoint some and please others. But there’s no doubt about one thing: the director’s considerable talent is on full display here. Let him keep shifting; we’ll keep watching.
As we’ve seen in films like Nebraska, About Schmidt and others, Payne likes to make movies about what some might call small people: ordinary folks in unremarkable places, struggling to make things work. In Downsizing, he’s made a movie about really small people. As in, five inches tall.
We begin with a groundbreaking discovery. A renowned Norwegian scientist has figured out how humans can reduce their footprint and save Earth from overpopulation. It’s called downsizing, and it’s irreversible — but if enough people do it, it could save humanity. Paul Safranek (an excellent Matt Damon in the ultimate Everyman role), an occupational therapist at an Omaha meat company, watches on television with astonishment.