Downsizing REVIEW: Matt Damon stars in this darkly funny Climate Change film

Downsizing REVIEW: Matt Damon stars in this darkly funny Climate Change film

0 comments 📅13 October 2017, 19:00

Director: Alexander Payne
Release: 13 October 2017 (London Film Festival), 19 January 2018
From: Paramount Pictures
Format: Theatrical Release
Age Rating: 15

If all it took to save the world was to be shrunk to 1/5 of your original size, would you do it? Well in Alexander Payne’s new dramedy Downsizing it seems to be humanity’s only hope for survival in an overpopulated world, and Matt Damon is along for the ride. Okay, not Matt Damon, his character Paul Safranek who sees the shrinking experiment as a way to change his fortunes and get a life of luxury for him and his wife. The only problem is that on the day of the procedure Paul finds himself alone, shrunk in an irreversible procedure, with his wife telling him over the phone that she couldn’t go through with it.

It’s not exactly the life he’d hoped for, and after (pun-unintended) downsizing to a small apartment he finds that he’s in even more of a rut than he was in the “normal-sized” world. Chance would have it that an enigmatic and outgoing neighbour moves into the flat above him, though, and after joining one of his infamous house parties Paul quickly realises that things can get better. Dusan Mirkovic (Christoph Waltz) is brash and unapologetic but he inadvertently brings Paul and Vietnamese activist Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) together, and that’s when his life really begins to change.

Paul is an interesting character, he’s an average person that we can get behind and incites both sympathy and support from viewers. Matt Damon continues to be in strong form here; Paul is a far-cry away from some of the charismatic roles he’s taken on before, but this works for him and he has some great chemistry with both Christoph Waltz and Hong Chau. It’s Chau that’s the most interesting though, Ngoc is a strong character and her blunt approach to the role makes the film that much more interesting.

It’s not quite clear what Payne hopes to convey with the film, it approached the fate of humanity in a fun way before becoming serious, and then making things entertaining again. Perhaps he’s trying to say that we’re all doomed and should see the beauty in everyday things, and just enjoy the earth while it lasts because everything’s going to go wrong anyway. His ideas certainly present a fresh way of looking at the issue of climate change, but its bleak undertones suggest that there really is no hope. Or, maybe, we’re just looking too much into this and the film should just be enjoyed for its dark humour.

Review by Roxy Simons

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