Movie Reviews

Published on December 20th, 2017 | by Josh Aja

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Downsizing 

Overpopulation is a growing problem in the world and two Doctors, Dr. Jorgen Asbjornsen (Rolf Lassgard) and Dr. Andreas Jacobsen (Soren Pilmark) have found what they believe is the answer. The have discovered how to shrink all kinds of living matter, including humans. Asbjornsen and a group of volunteers are shrunk and live for years before showing the world. They believe that they can help solve the worlds hunger crisis as well as overpopulation. When occupational therapist Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) first hears of this he is fascinated with the idea of doing something grand to help save the world. But it isn’t until years later when he and his wife, Audrey Safranek (Kristen Wiig), run into an old college friend, Dave Johnson (Jason Sudeikis), who has been shrunk that he realizes he might be able to have a better life at four inches tall. Because of how cheap everything is to build for new tiny people there is an opportunity to live lavishly on meager means. The Safrankek’s have been struggling to get by and really be able enjoy life. When they hear that their hundreds of thousands could be millions they see this as their chance to live the luxury life. The head out to Leisureland Estates, a tiny community, to see what the small world has to offer. After the visit they are convinced and decide to go through with the procedure and begin the irreversible process of becoming “small.” On the operation date they go to separate areas to get completely shaved and prepped. When Paul wakes up he is surprised that Audrey is not with him and she has decided she cannot go through the irreversible process. After his divorce he is left alone trying to find himself and where he fits in a whole new world, at a whole new size.

This Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Nebraska, Sideways) written (co-written by Jim Taylor) and directed film is interesting and fun. If you look at this movie as a satire and don’t get too caught up in is this actually plausible you will be fine. For instance they make mention to how the people who are shrunk are pretty much left alone by things like mosquitoes and other insects but never mention things like rodents or other predators that would be difficult to fend off. I also was surprised by how in depth they get into social issues as the trailer I saw made it look more comedic than the film turned out to be. Not saying that there are not funny moments but the emphasis was really on issues like global overpopulation, exploitation of the poor, etc. and how one man decides to tackle these issues as the present themselves. I was taken by surprise at first but by the end of the film it really put everything into perspective.

Hong Chau, as Ngoc Lan Tran in the film, stood out and was really funny at times. The rest of the cast was good and fit the story well. The story did tend to drift between comedy and drama and not always as smoothly as intended. The film comes in at 2 hours and 15 minutes which is a little long but really if it was shorter the story would be even more all over the place. The plausibility of most of the film was in question for me and that was definitely distracting. But looking back if I spent less time on that I would have enjoyed the film more. Visually nothing really stand out like I thought it would and there was potential. The novelty of everyday things being bigger did get over done a little.

 

3.0 out of 5

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