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Sometimes what looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, smells like a duck…is not actually a duck. This should have been a great movie, with high caliber directing (Payne), first rate acting (Damon, Waltz, Chau), and a fantastic concept/message (downsizing). So what went wrong?
I feel like this may have been an over-commitment to the core concept of downsizing as a story, and a resulting forced narrative with no real tracks beneath it. Payne has done well with loose, meandering scripts before, but Downsizing was loose to the point of being shapeless.
Utterly disappointing if not for the fact that this was still a perfectly entertaining film. I don't regret those two hours even given the blatantly shoddy aspects of the piece.
By far the worst film I have seen in a long time, and I'll watch almost anything.
I completely agree with frankqb, the idea is interesting but is never really explored properly, and instead the film just wanders off in many different directions.
There seem to be at least four different stories here, first there's the life changing experience of the protagonist as he becomes small and what that means for him, then there's the relationship and dynamic between the big world and the small world (including political and economic implications), then the social inequality within the new small world, and then the whole stuff about climate change and the end of the world.
Unfortunately these stories do not combine well and no matter what the viewer might be interested in more, the movie as a whole can only disappoint.
I would have liked to see more about what it means to live in this fictional small world and how it interacts with the normal world (as I too would have expected the film to be about that), but in the end only the very first part is somewhat about that. After maybe a quarter of the film the whole downsizing part is only a gimmick, and towards the end it doesn't even matter anymore whether they're small or not.
And as for the parts where the film focuses on being small, they are mostly wasted opportunities.
And on top of that, the way the small world works doesn't make any sense.
Finally, there is the social commentary - but the film fails here, too. It hints at some things then never develops anything, and instead just focuses on the idiotic protagonist while sometimes parading it's Asian stereotype character or showing you the slums.
And just as frankqb pointed out, the mixture of lame comedy and the cautionary message the film tries to almost constantly force on the viewer doesn't work at all and just makes it insulting.
Avoid this terrible movie. This is not a "fun film" you can just enjoy without thinking too much about it, even if it may be marketed this way. It's just plain awful.
The problem with the movie is its length . 2 hrs and 15 mins really ? what were they thinking?
Also after the interesting first half, it goes all downhill.. Half baked story and screenplay…. A letdown for a Alexander payne movie!
Still acting by Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig makes this a bearable watch! I would give this a 6 or 6.5 max, out of 10.
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