Downsizing: Big Movie, Small Ambition

The premise of the movie is fascinating and visually pleasant.

At the beginning of the film, a kindly Norwegian scientist named Dr. Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård) invents a way to shrink people to a height of about five inches.

This newfound invention was a way for the world to lessen environmental impact of everyday lives and stave off climate change.

The noble idea quickly and surprisingly becomes the latest lifestyle fad.

The movie follows a mediocre man named Paul (played by Matt Damon) trying to find where he belongs and learning important lessons about humanity in the process.

The first half hour of the film focuses on the alluring pitch of downsizing. When you’re five inches tall, everything  becomes cheaper because your needs are so much smaller.

You’re saving the planet, because you produce so little waste. And you’re still a citizen who can vote and even attend parties.

However, there’s also a catch; once you’ve shrunk, there’s no way to reverse it.

Paul has gone through the downsizing process only to find himself living a boring life in a big house on a spotless street in a town reminiscent to The Truman Show.

All of this blandness is meant to be satirical, but Downsizing can’t find the right comedic tone.

Paul himself is so bland that you find yourself not caring about him at all. Subsequent developments focuses on his party-animal neighbour Dusan and Tran, a Vietnamese cleaning woman that touches on the disparity between rich and poor.

Downsizing is a nearly-great film that, despite running out of steam halfway through, still offers enough to leave the viewer full of ideas. Despite the lofty subject matter, it’s never preachy and is genuinely funny.

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