Satire, speculative fiction, or political commentary? Downsizing is a mix of all these, on top of being a comedy.
In the near future, Norwegian scientist Jørgen Asbjørnsen perfects the downsizing procedure, a medical process that can safely reduce the size of almost all organic lifeforms. It is Asbjørnsen’s hope that this would save the Earth from overpopulation and resource depletion. Years later, occupational therapist Paul Safranek and his wife sign up for the irreversible procedure, seeing it as a step in improving their stagnant lives. All goes well till Paul’s wife, Audrey, backs out at the last minute. Paul is left trapped in miniature form, regretting what he increasingly sees as the worst mistake of his life.
My first movie in a cinema for 2018, and something that was truly a big bag of everything.
There were so many themes going on in Downsizing, and before all else, let me just state that for me, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Matt Damon threw in his usual reliable performance, and stereotyping as she might be, Hong Chau’s Vietnamese activist/fugitive was an absolute riot. The themes themselves were lightly tossed about, crisp and terse, and in that sense not too unlike a nice bowl of salad. I entered the cinema expecting the movie to be some sort of sci-fi comedy. I was pleasantly surprised that it did not hesitate to go way deeper than that.
Other viewers might not feel the same way, though. To use my salad bowl (LOL) analogy again, Downsizing frequently dipped into having too many ingredients. Ten types of fruits to complement one lettuce! Every type of pepper just for the sake of it. The inevitable consequence of this was that anything mentioned merely flirted. Often, one did not even enjoy the opportunity to chew on any. And then there was the ending, which IMO was just too … I wouldn’t give it away. I’m largely for the principles encouraged in the movie, and because of that, I found the ending too discordant. With that one turn, everything else touched on earlier felt to be rendered irrelevant.
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