Unfortunately for writer and director Alexander Payne, Downsizing failed to repeat Payne’s Oscar success in 2012 having failed to gain a single nomination. The film takes an intriguing concept that many of us have dreamed about since we were children and packs an important sustainability message. For some reason the film has failed to gain any awards buzz, this could be partly due to the backlash Damon has received about his recent comments but mostly down to the fact that this is a competitive year. The film also struggles with its storyline, often choosing to choose interesting and cool visuals over interesting plot points. However, the film has some positives and its small ensemble do give some great performance, not to mention the long list of cameos spread throughout the film.
This film suits Matt Damon‘s skillset and is a step in the right direction if the actor wants to step away from his action franchises into more serious films. He plays the average American well, nothing massively stands out from his performance but there wasn’t anything wrong. He has some comedic moments but most of these are due to other characters or things happening in his surroundings, the film relies heavily on visuals to provide the laughs. The biggest comedy player and break out star in the film has to be Hong Chau, she is excessively funny but I did cringe at the exaggeration of her Vietnamese character. Chau has great comedic timing, especially for an actress with little acting experience. I was glad to see she gained a Supporting Actress in a Comedy nomination at this year’s Golden Globes, but she couldn’t compete at the Oscars in arguably the most competitive category.
Christoph Waltz plays an extremely awkward character and I felt it was a slight miss fire this film. His care-free, whimsical character was not enjoyable to watch and it seemed obvious that the actor was playing a character. Not to take away from the two time Oscar winner, I always look forward to his performances and this did not defuse my excitement about his future projects. I thought Kristen Wiig gave a good performance but was disappointed with her involvement in the film. I always look forward to her performances and she barely misses her beat, I hope she continues to choose a wide variety of projects to help showcase her talent.
I enjoyed the visuals of the film and thought some elements of the shrunken village were entertaining to watch. I did struggle with the story as they ventured to the first smaller village in Sweden, I much preferred exploring life in the modern village. I didn’t feel invested in Damon’s character but thought Chau’s character really carried the film. She was entertaining to watch and had a wide range of comedic and emotional scenes. This film is a great one to catch on streaming services when you want to watch something light-hearted and easy to watch.
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