Matt Da­mon goes mini in Venice opener ‘Down­siz­ing’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY JILL LAWLESS

“Down­siz­ing’’ has gen­er­ated jumbo-sized buzz at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val — not least as view­ers de­bate how to de­scribe it.

Is it a sci­ence fic­tion film, a ro­man­tic com­edy, a po­lit­i­cal para­ble, an apoc­a­lyp­tic thriller? Alexan­der Payne’s movie mixes all those el­e­ments in its story of a man, played by Matt Da­mon, who tries to solve his prob­lems by shrink­ing him­self.

Payne says that de­spite its sci-fi premise and in­ter­na­tional can­vas, “Down­siz­ing’’ is not so dif­fer­ent to the films he’s best known for — funny-sad sto­ries of mid­dle aged or Mid­west­ern strug­glers such as “About Sch­midt,’’ ‘’Side­ways” and ‘’Nebraska.”

“It has the same sense of hu­mour and ba­si­cally the same tone,’’ Payne told re­porters in Venice Wed­nes­day.

That tone al­ter­nately puz­zled and thrilled view­ers in Venice, where the film has its gala pre­miere in the fes­ti­val’s cov­eted open­ing-night spot. Sev­eral re­cent Venice open­ers, in­clud­ing “Grav­ity’’ and “La La Land,’’ have gone on to win mul­ti­ple Academy Awards.

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