Film & TV

Review: Downsizing

Alexander Payne embarks on his latest cinematic journey in a transformative tackling of ever-present social, moral and political issues through an accessible, entertaining, bitesize medium.

At a first glance, the film would appear as a standard Hollywood comedic throwaway with an interesting twist; Norwegian scientists have created a manner through which the human body can be shrunk down to a mere 5”, the process of which is aptly named, downsizing. Whilst its original purpose serves as one of environmental sustainability, the majority of the population are quick to deduct that in the pursuit of greater quality of life, getting small is somewhat of a no-brainer.

From this, the film acts as a reflection of human nature and its rationality in decision making. The movie’s engagement with greater levels of social and moral issues of abandonment, philanthropy, greed become increasingly apparent as it transforms from a linear routine satire into a deeply thought-provoking endeavor. Its success stems from its engagement with such issues; by providing a mainstream accessible platform through which previously unconsidered questions can be raised, it brings new purpose to the genre of forgettable Hollywood comedies beyond conjuring an occasional chuckle.

However, the film’s rigid script and somewhat non-existent score are evident and inescapable at select points throughout. Equally, as the underlying mood of the film evolves from to its more serious interaction with the aforementioned concepts, much of the promised signature comedic style you’d expect from a cast of this magnitude, the likes of which include Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis, although were welcomed at the beginning, become and give many of the scenes a convoluted tone.

Misleading trailers alongside the cast of an archetypal characterless comedy set the film off on the wrong foot. The notable odyssey into raw human nature leaves those departing the cinemas with a greater sense of lust for answers, not of those of potential plot holes but of further philosophical inquiry.

By Josh Ong