2017’s Downsizing is a serious departure for Alexander Payne, whose films are always firmly set in the real-world. Sure, they might be skewed, but there’s an inherent reality that runs through them which offers a tangibility. This time around he dives head-first into science fiction and this gives Payne a whole new direction – even if he doesn’t totally diverge from his usual beige and brown colour palette.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Alexander Payne’s Downsizing then you’re probably expecting a very different film from what it actually is. Sure, Matt Damon is zapped down to being five inches tall, but that’s not really the film’s main thrust. It’s one of the thrusts, but in reality Downsizing is actually a film of three very distinct acts.
The first (and best) is a Truman Show-style comedy of how Damon’s mundane life leads him to become a fraction of his former self (simple economics) and how he adjusts to life in a new, insular new world. The second is an investigation into social injustice and the final is a spiritual journey/end-of-the-world type thing. None of these really gel together but they are all good in their own little way.
It doesn’t hit the mark like Sideways, About Schmidt or The Descendants but that’s not to say that Downsizing isn’t worth viewing. It’s a mixed bad, but it has enough to offer – even if it is something small.
Budgeted at $68 million, Downsizing grossed $24.4 million at the US box office and $55 million globally following its release in 2017.