Review: Downsizing | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: Downsizing

Film Critic Tom Smith-Wrinch finds that there is very little to like in Downsizing

Well, well, well it seems that the glitz and glamour that Hollywood has to offer has definitely ‘downsized’ indeed. In a movie where the main characters are 0.0364% of their original mass and volume, it is certainly safe to say that this film really didn’t live ‘up’ to expectations. From the trailer, one would expect action, romance and perhaps dramatic enlightenment within intriguing character arcs. However, from the offset, one finds that this film jettisons the basic tenants of successful film making; it is the little things that fundamentally don’t matter as much as one thought.

One finds that this film jettisons the basic tenants of successful film making; it is the little things that fundamentally don’t matter as much as one thought.

These pint-sized creatures offer nothing more than a confused, poorly executed and at times, disorientating picture leaving audiences bewildered and utterly amazed that a film with such potential could shrink down to something so basic. Perhaps, one can infer that despite an ambiguous and indeed directionless plot line throughout, we can certainly claim that these little people often serve to have little point. Downsizing filled me with about as much pleasure and excitement as watching a naked, bald and gollumesque Matt Damon prance about the screen for the first twenty minutes (which really isn’t a lot).

The film itself follows the tired couple Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey Safranek (Kristen Wiig) who undergo an irreversible medical procedure known as ‘downsizing’ in order to alleviate their financial pains. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned and Paul is left as a miserable miniscule former shadow of a man as he purportedly undergoes a journey of ‘self-discovery’. Along the way he encounters some more outlandish yet equally insignificant characters such as the exotic Dušan (Christoph Waltz) and a lover who surprisingly pops out of a TV box. Unsurprisingly, the only thing that he manages to discover, as seen in the trailer, is that his genitals remain the same size (relatively speaking of course).

As it turns out, this ‘downsizing’ is essentially the cure for the world, preventing over-population and climate change in the process. Regrettably, the process certainly isn’t the cure for boredom or indeed the remedy for an entertaining movie. The whiny undertones of broken english spewing out of Dušan’s cleaners soon- to -be Damon’s twisted love interests mouth (Hong Chau) were enough to irritate and indeed disengage most of the audience within the first half hour of the film. Predictable yet utterly bizarre dialogue proved to further ‘shrink’ the quality of such a picture, at one point within the movie she literally talks of the different love interests (or as she quaintly puts it, ‘f*cks’) that had been given to her in the past in what should have been a relatively poignant and touching piece of drama (seeing as the world was ending around them and all that due to man’s failures etc, etc.). By then however, I had given zero.

Despite such a disappointing decrease in quality, the film had potential. At times, powerful acting and interesting ideas proved to lessen the blow dealt by an infuriatingly complex and unnecessarily twisted plot line, a total disregard for the integrity of the characters and ultimately, a tedious and indeed limited picture with little to no direction at all.

Powerful acting and interesting ideas proved to lessen the blow dealt by an infuriatingly complex and unnecessarily twisted plot line

Had the film attempted to fit in as many genres as possible then one could claim its success however with such poor execution and wholly disconcerting plot lines then the film itself does little more then to prove just how little it really is. The film lacks a vital centre, there is simply no intrinsic nature within the film to help it live up to such promise, shadowed by too much ‘muchness’ and little detail for what can make this picture truly important. And for that, the film is in essence a failure.

Verdict: Doomed for its over ambitious nature and tragic plot devices, one leaves the film with sentiments of emptiness, a lack of fulfilment and certainly, yes certainly, with a feeling that their hopes and dreams for such an epic have almost inevitably been ‘downsized’. I guess, these little creatures have indeed supplied little effect to what should have been a rather interesting watch, in future: just let the big people do the acting.

Rating: 3/10

I read better then I write.



Published

5th February 2018 at 9:00 am



Images from

watertower-music and Vox



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