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Downsizing

‘Downsizing’ is a phrase that has both good and bad connotations. It could mean to decrease the workforce with forced redundancies or a lowering of monies owed. Whatever the meanings, the term has gained popularity in this era of rationalising everything. The sci-fi/comedy film ‘Downsizing’ explores how humanity can be saved via this action. Its premise may not be outlandish as first thought with the phrase sure to continue to be seen in dictionaries for decades.

Desperate to find a solution to the world’s over-population crisis, scientists from Norway have come up with a smart idea. Discovering a way to shrink humans to miniature size, they adopt this plan and build new small worlds for the tiny population. One of the inhabitants is Paul (Matt Damon) who, along with his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig), eagerly joins the queue for a new life. The downsized community, including Dusan (Christoph Waltz) and Ngoc (Hong Chau), bring about a myriad of surprises as everyone adapts to a new way of living.

‘Downsizing’ is a quirky story with a mix of styles. Veering from drama, comedy, eco-thriller and sci-fi, it’s a peculiar concoction. It doesn’t always work with the performers feeling as lost as the plot. As the central character, we follow Paul as he deals with finding his life’s purpose in a new environment. In being the ‘big man’ in the normal-sized world, he’s now a small entity forced to start afresh. His journey in forging different paths is well conveyed by Damon who injects the right amount of sympathy to his confused role.

Whilst its execution isn’t great, ‘Downsizing’ has an abundance of good concepts in the screenplay. There’s something to be said in trying to find a solution to the world’s over-population with the script’s narrative offering intriguing ideas. It is how they are expressed that makes ‘Downsizing’ comes unstuck although the CGI and creativity gone in establishing the tiny world is well done. The cast rise above the wobbly script by adding vitality in what could have been one-dimensional characters.

‘Downsizing’ doesn’t always work but when it does it grabs attention. It is doubtful whether science will resolve the over-population issue like this in my lifetime but it is fun seeing a film speculating on possibilities. ‘Downsizing’ doesn’t need to be cut down to size by audiences as it grapples with how to make it big in a tiny universe.

Rating out of 10: 6

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