Have you ever seen a film that felt like it was being pulled in two, vastly different directions? While watching the movie Downsizing starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wig, there were moments when I found myself hypnotized by the film's forward-thinking humanitarian grandeur. Just a few moments later, I'd be laughing out loud at Hong Chau's character's brashness.
Audience reactions to Downsizing are very mixed. Frankly, the film possesses witty comedy that will only be appreciated by some and not others. Personally, I enjoyed the light sci-fi/comedy quite a bit. However, I do see some of its faults, and definitely see why a movie like Downsizing can only draw niche appeal. (Remember: Not everyone is trying to birth the next multi-billion dollar franchise.)
My favorite character was hands-down the Vietnamese house cleaner, Ngoc Lan Tran, but Dusan, played by Christoph Waltz, was pretty entertaining as well.
I think too many people took Downsizing too seriously. Maybe the humor was lacking volume, and more frequent comedy would have helped really drive home the fact that this film is definitely satirical comedy in a major way.
Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig deliver solid performances, but they're not the true stars of the show. James Van Der Beek makes makes a short guest appearance, but my hat goes off to Kong Chau, as she has a new fan in A.C. Hachem.
All Images: Paramount Pictures
Although Downsizing is significantly funnier than some of the light, realistic sci-fi that's come out lately, I feel like because of the tone of the rest of the film, as well as the mixed reception by viewers, the movie falls into the same realm as the Annihilations, Arrivals, and Gravities of the world.
Come to think of it, there may have been a misstep or three in the marketing department. Because from what I can remember, Downsizing is actually quite different from what the trailers portrayed it to be. I would imagine this plays a role in how disgruntled audiences are with this movie, among other reasons, of course. Then again, this same, "film's fault vs. marketing department's fault" is applicable to pretty much every film grossing less than a billion bucks these days. One element is almost always in need of dire help, if not both.
The primary audience for Downsizing has got to be fans of quirky comedies. If you truly enjoy Monty Python films, Best In Show, or anything even remotely along those lines, this is a movie for you.
For my sci-fi fandom, I cannot whole-heartedly suggest you watch this film, unless you also happen to be a fan of the above, which might make this movie quite a treat for you. But if you're just looking for a more plausible 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids', Downsizing isn't it.
I will say though, that Downsizing felt quite different than anything I had ever seen before, so bonus points for originality, for sure. I'm not entirely sure if the vast contrasts in this film's tone help more than they hurt, but one thing that I am entirely certain of, is Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.