Da­mon Down­siz­ing runs out of steam

Broome Advertiser - - Happenings | Lifestyle -

Film Down­siz­ing (M) Stars: Matt Da­mon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kris­ten Wiig, Udo Kier, Ja­son Sudeikis. Di­rec­tor: Alexan­der Payne Re­view: Moira Mac­don­ald

Alexan­der Payne’s Down­siz­ing, a mes­sage wrapped in a satir­i­cal com­edy, presents a cre­ative so­lu­tion to over­pop­u­la­tion: Get small.

His char­ac­ters live in an oth­er­wise recog­nis­able world, in which sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered a way to shrink hu­man be­ings down to 13cm, with no neg­a­tive ef­fects.

Once tiny, far fewer re­sources are needed; sub­ur­ban com­fort, in newly cre­ated planned com­mu­ni­ties for the small, can be had with just a cou­ple of feet of space.

If enough peo­ple chose this op­tion, the world can be saved — and, in­evitably, filled with tiny Beni­hana restau­rants.

Paul Safranek (Matt Da­mon), a mild-man­nered oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist, who lives in Omaha with his dis­con­tented wife Au­drey (Kris­ten Wiig), is in­trigued by what’s pre­sented by slick sales­peo­ple as a win-win life­style change.

These early scenes are the best parts of Down­siz­ing; Payne has rounded up some ter­rific pitch­men in cameo roles (Neil Pa­trick Har­ris, Laura Dern, Niecy Nash, Donna Lynne Cham­plin), and the de­tails of the pro­ce­dure (newly shrunken hu­mans are picked up off the op­er­at­ing ta­ble with pre­sum­ably ster­ile spat­u­las) are both creepy and funny.

Airlines, we hear, are “get­ting more and more small-friendly” Paul and Au­drey, frus­trated by their in­abil­ity to live the good life on their mid­dle-class salaries, de­cide to take the plunge — but of course, it’s not that sim­ple.

Un­for­tu­nately, de­spite a jolt of en­ergy brought in the film’s sec­ond half by the wickedly su­per­sized per­for­mance of Hong Chau (as Ngoc Lan Tran, a Viet­namese refugee whose story fas­ci­nates Paul), Down­siz­ing runs out of steam long be­fore it’s over.

Da­mon, as a doughy ev­ery­man, isn’t given much to play, leav­ing a hole at the mid­dle of the movie; an­other key char­ac­ter van­ishes en­tirely; and the movie feels over­long, with a last act full of char­ac­ters ex­plain­ing things to each other.

Per­haps Down­siz­ing needed to be down­sized a bit; as it is, it’s an in­trigu­ing con­cept that slips away.

Matt Da­mon in fiz­zler Down­siz­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.