Review: Finding Hope in a Time of ‘Downsizing’

matt-damon-downsizingBy now, many have seen the trailers for Downsizing, the new Matt Damon film in which a number of the Earth’s population undergoes a process of miniaturization supposedly for the betterment of the world. But while the trailers do highlight some of the more humorous moments of the film, like Matt Damon, you should all get ready for the transition.

The Alexander Payne-directed film does suffer a bit from trying to figure out what it wants to be, much like its central character of Paul Safranek (Matt Damon). The film starts off as a bit of a light comedy with some social commentary as Safranek and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) struggle through their day-to-day life trying to make ends meet. Paul is a people pleaser, often going out of his way for others, and wanting to give his wife what he thinks she desires. Upon reconnecting with a college friend (Jason Sudeikis) who got “small,” Paul is intrigued by the fresh start it seems to have given him and he and Audrey investigate joining Leisureland, one of the top resort establishments where their paltry savings translates to a sizable windfall.

The “size” jokes are sly and the actual resizing process is an intriguing visual, but poor Paul hopes for the future he always wanted to give his wife are dashed when she has second thoughts at the last minute, leaving him miniaturized and she skirting off to her family and friends leaving him high and dry. But while the early portion of the film seemed light and bouncy, the remainder is more of a dramatic piece with Paul finding his place in a new world.

A downtrodden Paul spends his next year separating from his wife, moving from his luxurious house to an apartment, taking a miserable job in telemarketing after giving up his occupational therapist position in the real world and seemingly wandering adrift in his new world. But his loud and very frank upstairs neighbor Dusan (Christoph Waltz) takes Paul under his wing and introduces him to a new world. It is through this association with Dusan and a number of his associates that Paul begins to start his journey to understanding who he is within the changing world around him.

Dusan is a capitalist cad, finding the ways to exploit the downsized world, who also employs a Vietnamese activist named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chou) who was imprisoned and downsized before losing her leg in a human trafficking operation. It’s Paul’s fascination with Ngoc that begins his transformation, first reclaiming a bit of his old self through assisting with her leg, and then being increasingly pulled into her orbit. Through his journey of self-discovery, Paul suffers a few highs and lows, but his hopefulness remains key to the film’s pacing and plot.

While there are light moments in Downsizing, it becomes more of a think piece, with Damon’s character thrust into situations we all may eventually face within our own lives. His journey is one worth following and one that will no doubt have the audience questioning how they would handle the same situations, which could be inevitable within our world. Downsizing is part comedy, part social commentary, part wake-up call for our future, which at times is uneven, but is fully worthy following. The film may not be for everyone, but it’s a movie that should make you think and have you talking upon leaving the theater.

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Posted by Ari Coine

Kristen Wiig Teams With “Nice Guy” Matt Damon For A ‘Downsizing’ Venture

DOWNSIZINGThe notion of shrinking yourself down to miniature size to increase the quality of your life is a fantastical notion that director Alexander Payne tackles with Downsizing. Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig are the couple who are considering joining this liliputian universe.

“I have been a huge fan of Matt for a very long time,” said Wiig. “We have always met many times. We have mutual friends. I’ve just always wanted to work with him and I’ve heard he’s such a nice guy. That’s everything when you’re on set. He was amazing and he’s so funny. We joked around a lot and he’s great.”

As with most of Payne’s works, Downsizing is a pointed satire at our daily existence, and Wiig explains how the environment is a central theme to the narrative. Take a listen to Wiig’s comments below:


Downsizing, which features a Golden Globe nominated performance from Hong Chau, opens nationwide December 22.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Alexander Payne Tackles Climate Change With Satirical Bent In ‘Downsizing’

DOWNSIZINGWhat would happen if overpopulation dramatically reduces Earth’s natural resources and the cost of living would skyrocket beyond measure? In director Alexander Payne’s latest feature Downsizing Norwegian scientists have discovered a process to shrink people to five inches tall. Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) have decided to become part of this downsized community increase their net worth and enhance their quality of living.

Payne reteams with writer Jim Taylor for the film, and it’s their first writing collaboration since 2004’s Sideways. In the audio clip below, Payne explains why Downsizing, though it has a pointed message about climate change, is at heart a biting satire like his earlier works Citizen Ruth and Election (Taylor is also heard in the clip).


Downsizing, co-starring Golden Globe nominated actress Hong Chau, opens nationwide December 22.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Alexander Payne Goes For “Honest” Storytelling With ‘Downsizing’

DOWNSIZING

Filmmaker Alexander Payne previously worked with George Clooney in The Descendants, and now he’s teamed with Clooney’s good friend and collaborator Matt Damon in Downsizing. The narrative centers on a couple (Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig) who decide to shrink themselves because their net worth of $150,000 would make them millionaires by living in a literally “downsized” universe.

Payne was immediately locked in on Damon for the lead role. “I needed a fantastic actor who I also would believe as an every man,” said Payne. “Who looks more like a real human . . . even though he is a movie star. But then I also needed a movie star who could help bring the financing for the hefty budget we needed. At his age range, mid-40s, really there is only Matt Damon right now. He had been kind enough in passing to tell me, ‘Oh we should work together some day.'”

With today’s politically correct climate, some filmmakers may alter their own storylines to make their work more palatable to a larger audience. That being said, Alexander Payne has his own thoughts about how he approaches storytelling. Click on the media bar below to hear Payne discuss his “honest” approach to crafting a narrative:



Downsizing co-starring Kristen Wiig and Hong Chau opens nationwide December 22nd.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Outbreak on the Big Screen: Mission Impossible 6, Downsizing, Pacific Rim 2 + More

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The Tom Cruise-led Mission Impossible franchise is going strong. It’s been over 20 years since Cruise took on the role of Ethan Hunt in the series, which was adapted from the TV classic. Now comes word from Deadline that Paramount is planning the sixth film in the franchise, with plans for it to hit theaters on July 27, 2018. That date could still change as Warner Bros. has a big DC event film slotted in the same week and it’s likely one or the other will blink in order to avoid the likely competition for a similar audience.

Also new to the film schedule is Downsizing, the new film directed by Alexander Payne (Nebraska, Sideways, Election). Deadline reports that the movie, which stars Matt Damon, is about a man who realizes he’d have a better life if he could shrink himself. The film boasts a stellar supporting cast with Christoph Waltz, SNL vets Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis, Alec Baldwin and Neil Patrick Harris also set to appear. Downsizing is due in theaters Dec. 22, 2017.

After the success of Pacific Rim in 2013, a sequel has been ordered. Screen Rant reports that Pacific Rim: Maelstrom will star John Boyega (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens) as the son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) from the first film. Plot details are sparse, but the Guillermo del Toro will no longer helm the film, giving way to director Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil TV series). The film also stars Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny and Jian Tian.

In casting news, Michael Keaton has landed a role in the upcoming Spider-Man film, Spider-Man: Homecoming. According to Screen Rant, Keaton will appear as Vulture, the villain in the upcoming film rebooting the franchise. Tom Holland has been cast as Spider-Man, having signed a deal to appear as the character in up to six movies. The franchise is expected to focus more on Peter Parker’s days as a youth, beginning during his high school years.

Also ready to shine bright like a diamond on the big screen is pop star Rihanna. EW reports that the double-threat entertainer has landed a supporting role in the upcoming film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The sci-fi flick is being helmed by Luc Besson and it’s expected to arrive in theaters on July 21. The movie also stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as intergalactic police officers with a romantic entanglement.

And speaking of singers on the big screen, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has revealed he was once in consideration for a memorable film role. During an appearance on Alec Baldwin‘s podcast (via The Playlist), the “Everybody Hurts” vocalist revealed that he was offered the role of serial killer John Doe in the Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman film, Se7en. Stipe revealed that at the time, there was no dialogue for the character, with his only requirement being that he “had to run down some hallways looking scary.” Sadly, R.E.M. were set to tour the same month that shooting was taking place and he turned down the role. Kevin Spacey eventually portrayed Doe in the film.

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