And the award for ‘most interesting trailer/most disappointing’ film goes to … Downsizing. There’s no doubt that Downsizing has a unique and interesting premise – humans are shrinking themselves to go and live in tiny downsized lands, a phenomenon originally developed in a bid to sustain human life, to shelter it from the depletion of resources. As the concept of downsizing is introduced to the viewer the contrast between the ordinary population and the small is compelling but as soon as the film’s main protagonist Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) is living his shrunken life in downsized Leisureland the lack of spacial contrast means the film rapidly loses its unique selling point.
Once the film fully immerses itself in the world of the small it’s visually the same as another other – everything looks totally normal aside from some sporadically dispersed giant objects that feel like they’ve been thrown in as an afterthought. The plot loses its way and tries to throw too many themes into the mix without properly developing any of them. Downsizing tries to make points about sustainability and the purpose of life but fails to succinctly portray any real message at all. Narratively it’s a mess. It feels like a play with a few too many acts and often borders on absolute nonsense.
Matt Damon is bland throughout, Kristen Wiig (who plays his wife) is hardly in it, I don’t know why Christoph Waltz’s character exists. Thankfully, Hong Chau (who plays a Vietnamese housecleaner who was downsized against her will) delivers a stellar performance that makes the second half of the film at least watchable. She injects some much-needed humour and humanity into a film that’s eerily void of emotion.
Downsizing is one of those bad films that just doesn’t know where to end, it goes on and on getting more and more absurd until you’re trying to figure out how the hell this mess made it to the screen while watching some Norwegian hippies staring at the sun. It’s like a rambly lecture that the professor created on a whim. It’s so incoherent that you’re constantly fighting your brain to avoid tuning out.
I do like the basic concept of Downsizing (and Hong Chau is great) but do yourself a favour and simply watch the trailer. I gained absolutely nothing from watching over two hours of this film.
Overall, I give Downsizing a rating of 2.5/5.