ith a premise that would make Black Mirror’s Charlie Brooker curse the sky and wish he predicted the future, comes Downsizing. Set in the near future, scientists have found a way to save the planet’s overpopulation crisis. Shrinking humans to five inches tall and have them live in The Eden Project-style domes.
We follow Paul and Audrey Safranek, a married couple who, after attending a high school reunion, ironically, reunite with friends who have recently downsized. The couple, who are in financial jeopardy, discover that they would have more money than their humdrum lives allow and decide to go all in and have the irreversible procedure, commonly known as downsizing.
Matt Damon’s Paul is constantly searching for something and believes that downsizing will jump-start his life and give his life a sense of purpose. However, Paul is one of life’s magical people who, no matter how hard he tries, constantly lands on the go to jail square in Monopoly.
If you like trailers or go to the cinema on a regular basis, you know that film studios release multiple trailers for their films. The second trailer gives away a spoiler that ruined the film for me. Underused talent Kristen Wiig’s character does not downsize. It’s a great twist in the film’s first act, but the need to reveal in the trailer was a complete miss-step.
Five inches tall with his new life in tatters, Paul moves into an apartment block and like most of my friends takes a call centre job. He meets his noisy, rich, party animal upstairs neighbour and an adventure begins. Ngoc Lan Tran, a Vietnamese activist who was downsized against her will by the government, is his neighbour's cleaner and saves the film from being tragic. Her inspiring story invigorates something in Paul, and he decides to help her with her humanitarian deeds for the other poverty-stricken neighbours, living on the edge the dome.
An opportunity to visit the original compound in Norway is an opportunity Paul can’t refuse. While there his sense of purpose is ignited and he thinks he is fulfilled. He decides to join the original compound on their continued mission to save the earth. But things are never as they seem for Paul, are they.
The only way to describe this film is like Paul, humdrum trying to find its purpose. For such an exciting concept it has no drive or sense of action. Its tone never changes and despite generating some good jokes and laughs, is dull. But it is entertaining, have to give it that.
Wait for Netflix/watch the trailer, but three stars.