Downsizing Is Worse Than Bad, It’s Bland!

Movie: Downsizing

Starring: Matt Damon, Hong Chau, Christopher Waltz

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Directed by:  Alexander Payne

Rating: **(2 stars)

It is heartbreaking to see so much earnestness being squandered away in inertia.Downsizing is  a well meaning jibe at  global devastation done in a tone so steeped in righteous  indignation,  I thought I was watching an  evangelical propaganda film with angels and fairies flapping their  invisible wings  into the fuzzy camera lenses.

Director Alexander Payne, no stranger to tall tales about short-term beneficiaries messing  up with their game plans, here goes for the   whole mood of ecological regret with a heartbreaking earnestness. As a piece of propaganda on how we can save  civilization  Downsizinghas an ineradicable  cuteness at its heart which is borderline annoying.

The  plot is constantly cloying, as our protagonist Paul(Matt Damon, looking so detached  from the goings-on he could be the most reluctant inaction hero in the history of cinema) decides to go for a ‘downsizing’ procedure that would reduce him and his wife(KristenWiig) to 20 times  smaller than their normal size.

 The benefits of downsizing are  explained  in what could easily have been devilish digs at  governmental control of  our destiny(we all know what that feels like).  But no. Director Alexander Payne, so inured in enchanting ambiguities in his 2005 film Sideways  , means every word  his characters utter.They are  good people  caught in a catastrophic situation.

We  get that.

This  is  a work filled wth invisible conffetti dropping from heaven in every frame. The  only time it gets close to being remotely mischievous is when  Damon’s wife chickens out of the downsizing procedure at  the  last minute leaving him fuming and desolate in a la-la land where 5-inch human beings  live in 5-star luxury.

 The  etherized environemnt  halts  only when a  Vietnamese  downsized refugee played by Hong Chau,with the most grating singsong South-Asian  accent ever heard  in  cinema,joins hands with Damon to help ,nurse and feed  the  poor.Hong Chau order Damon around as  if she was taking revenge on  all the wrongs that HarveyWeinstein had done to all the women in  the entertainment  business.

All through this dreadfully selfrighteous film, I felt  there was  a catch somewhere. Maybe I  was missing the point? But then  with a jolt of  awakening I realized the whole point of  the shrinking exercize is  to spotlight man-made catastrophes as  weighed against  cinema’s  ability to  alchemize and assuage  the pain  of everyday existence.

Donwsizing tries to elevate the process  of shrinking human beings by imbuing a  moral edification to the process of shrinking humans physically. Sorry, I saw no joy in becoming smaller to save humanity.How  about saving us  from having to watch such joyless excursions  into  La la Land?

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