Here’s the gist: Norwegian scientists have found a way the prevent overpopulation: shrink people. The bad news is it’s irreversible, and if the doctors forget to remove teeth caps, your head could explode; but the good news is you’re richer and more relaxed than you are as a giant. Alexander Payne’s next film “Downsizing” shows us that, and it’s pretty good for doing so.
Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig play a stressed-out couple, Paul and Audrey Safranek, who both are cash-strapped, and are planning to move. They decide to move to LeisureLand Estates, the place for tiny people. They prepare for to get small, but unfortunately, Audrey backs out at the last minute, because she doesn’t want to leave her family. WHAT ABOUT PAUL??!!!!!
Paul, now tiny and single, struggles to adapt to his new surroundings. The movie’s star-studded cast also includes Jason Sudeikis as his high school friend and Christoph Waltz as his playboy neighbor, who both tell Paul being tiny is filled with many advantages; and Hong Chau (“Inherent Vice,” “Treme”) plays a Vietnamese activist, who was turned tiny against her will. She has Paul help her tend to sick people living in poverty.
Obviously, they filmed everyone on their normal height, but when the giants and tiny meet, special effects and tiny/giant props bring the shrinking idea to life. With these features, “Downsizing” does a lot better job than “The BFG” did with its CGI giants.
Sure, it’s strange to say the least, and it’s second act gets a little annoying. But ignore them, and appreciate Payne’s latest work as an interesting and innovative entry. And I’ve seen some strange movies this year that open their minds. The imagination of a young man and a TV show only he has seen in “Brigsby Bear,” the love story between a mute woman and a sea creature in “The Shape of Water,” and now, Matt Damon does a swell job playing a giant-turned-ant in “Downsizing.”