Thursday, January 25, 2018

Downsizing - Movie Review (2.5/5 stars)

By Hamza Shafique (Instagram / Facebook)

Matt Damon’s Downsizing is like a low on filling spring roll. You pick it up by looking at the perfectly crisp golden-brown exterior but as soon as you bite, you realize the lack of filling. And from then onward every bite is different depending on the amount of filling you get. That’s exactly how my experience was with Downsizing.

This is the third release of Matt Damon in a row that looked perfect from the trailers but turned out to be pure disappointment. First “Jason Bourne” then “The Wall” and now “Downsizing” all had amazing looks but no character. I guess this is what Forbes magazine meant when they ranked him among the most bankable stars that regardless of how previous films were, people will still get excited for his next film and at least for once come to the cinema.
Plot here is very unique and tells the story of Matt Damon (playing Paul Safranek) and his Wife played by Kristen Wiig who are struggling financially and decide to undertake a newly-invented procedure to shrink their bodies. The whole idea is that when you shrink your body your waste reduces, which in return is better for the environment and also along with that expenses go down too. In the movie, they say a 100K dollar is equivalent to 1.2Million Dollars in the shrunk world. As they are going through the transition to get smaller , Matt Damon goes first and when he arrives at the other end he realizes his wife refused the procedure at the last minute. Now he is alone in this experimental community and must reassess his life/choices. As I mentioned earlier, a very unique idea which has all the potential to be an interesting experience but lacks the required well crafted execution. Alexander Payne's direction and writing focuses more than required on this unique idea/characterization and lose the actual part about the film which is in fact not to show this new world but to see the Matt Damon’s character personal development with in this world. 
Like the sequence where they show how people are miniaturized is longer than the sequence where we see Matt Damon dealing with her Wife’s betrayal. This imbalance creates an experience where you are not able to enjoy the aspects of this new miniature world neither you are able to connect to Paul and experience what he goes through. Screenplay doesn’t drag, thanks to the originality of basic concept and interesting  characterization elements of the supporting cast which keeps on bringing something new throughout. This manages to keeps your attention to the plot and prevent it from dragging but also makes it a very uninteresting experience. It could have been far better if instead of these gimmicks, the individual growth curve of Paul Safranek provided the elements to engage audience and this is exactly what is wrong with  Downsizing.

Acting part is convincing and keeps this whole experience to a bearable level. Christoph Waltz as Dušan Mirković, an aging Serbian party boy and Hong Chau as Ngoc Lan Tran, a Vietnamese activist shrunk against her will by her government, both characters are far more enjoyable then the principal character of Paul Safranek and provide the required comic relief.
The lack of drama in this so-called “science fiction comedy-drama” is the real problem here, I go with 2.5 stars, purely for the originality of the concept and enjoyable supporting cast (Christoph Waltz/Hong Chau).   

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