Friday, March 09, 2018

'Downsizing' Explores the Fascinating Implications of Miniaturization

Downsizing has a very cool premise: The technology to shrink humans down to five inches has been discovered.  Primarily intended to address overpopulation and reducing waste, it proves to also be economically advantageous to those who chose to “downsize”, as the value of their money exponentially increase since the amount of things they need to buy and consume become tremendously lesser.

The plot then sees a financially struggling occupation therapist named Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) becoming sold on the benefits of downsizing.  So he convinces his wife (Kristen Wiig) to downsize and move to a downsized community where they can live a life of luxury.  However, the result of the life-changing decision doesn’t mirror what Paul is expecting.

Of course, in real life, biology, gravity, weather, ecology, and other factors make the idea of a downsized society unfeasible.  But within the context of this fictional setting, wherein this concept is somehow viable and successful, we are able to enjoy the fascinating implications of a Lilliputian world.
The pacing is dull at times, especially within the first half, as there are parts that could have been shaved off; the movie would definitely have been improved if its 135-minute runtime was trimmed further.  But the overall narrative is sufficiently absorbing and thoughtful.  I was surprised by how pensive and heartfelt it manages to be.  It’s a tad preachy at some points, but it doesn’t go overboard.  Moreover, the main storyline has some good build up, and it has a couple of terrific plot points.  In relation to this, it’s not pulling a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids with its peculiar situation but its twisted sense of humor grants some very clever situational comedy, one of which is a major plot point that was devastating for the main character but had me in stitches.

Overall, I like Downsizing.  Aside from some pointless, boring padding, I believe it’s an interesting and meaningful science fiction movie.

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