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 wishful hope that his procedure would ultimately 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 to 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 are so many themes going on in Downsizing. Before all else, let me just state that for me, this isn’t completely a bad thing.
Matt Damon throws in his usual reliable performance. And stereotyping as she might be, Hong Chau’s Vietnamese activist/fugitive is an absolute riot.
The themes themselves are 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 the movie does not hesitate to go deeper than that.
Other viewers might not feel the same way though, I’m aware. To use my salad bowl (LOL) analogy again, Downsizing frequently dips 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 is that anything mentioned merely flirted. Often, one does not even enjoy the opportunity to chew on any.
And then there was the ending, which IMO is 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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