Monday, February 5, 2018

Downsizing - A Surprisingly Rather Disappointing Flat Drama of A Wonderful Topic

Yesterday evening, my wife and I decided to have a movie marathon which we had not done for quite some time. It was actually due to our vouchers to experience Gold type cinema in CGV were expiring by end of the month. So when there were 2 movies premiered last week and both were playing in the cinema, we set our mind to do so during the weekend, after our weekend staycation. It was quite fortunate that when we arrived at Grand Indonesia mall, there were still few seats available. Now let us get on with the first movie.

Brief Story Line

A Norwegian scientist Dr. Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård) had invented a process where he could minimize living organism to a much smaller size and it was called "downsizing". The only catch was the process was irreversible. 15 years after that first discovery, downsizing had become quite a popular process used at humans. Paul Safranek (Matt Damon - Jason Bourne, Good Will Hunting etc) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig - 2016 version Ghostbusters, The Martian etc) were an average couple living in Omaha and were having the usual average people's problem, i.e. financials.

When they found out from another couple who had performed the downsizing process, both of them decided it was a good idea to do so, especially when they realized that their wealth would increase significantly due to the very small living cost required when they became very small people. After completing the process, Paul had to adjust to the new life that he had chosen and live in a totally different environment with other downsized people including a neighbor named Dusran (Christoph Waltz - The Legend of Tarzan, Spectre etc) and a Vietnamese lady named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau).

So how would this downsized people cope with their lives? Was life as rosy as it seemed? Find them all in this drama movie.

End of Brief Story Line

When I saw the trailer to the movie, I felt that it was very promising. It had the potential of becoming a very cool drama movie with probably some comedy here and there. But after I finished watching it, I became a bit disappointed. I personally felt that the movie was not sure of where it was going. At first it seemed to be going to the direction of heavy drama of life adjustment. Then as the story went by, it seemed to be focusing on providing heavy moral message. Not to mention that the film felt quite boring as it did not have an emotional roller coaster that I expected in such drama movie. My wife was a bit disappointed as well with the lack of such emotions. I did not see her touched by emotional scene (as I did not think the movie had it).

I am very sure that the filmmaker had a great idea when they came up with this movie. I was actually amazed by the creativity of those Hollywood people and again, the topics/message they wanted to deliver were pretty up to date, such as global warming, humans damaging the planet. But I think it did not resonate to general audience which was most likely the reason why it was not a commercial success. 

Personally I felt that the film was a bit draggy (it had more than 2 hours duration) especially with what seemed like aimless story telling. That is why I think it was disappointing since it was directed by Alexander Payne who directed some critical success (even won several nominations) for movies such as Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska. Talking about award nominations, Hong Chau who played the Vietnamese refugee was nominated for best supporting actress. 

In conclusion, apart from some lively performance by Hong Chau and Christoph Waltz, the movie felt lacking everything. It did not give what I hoped would have been a nice touching drama movie. Even with large cast (including cameo appearances by Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, James Van Der Beek etc), it was unable to deliver. It is my personal opinion that if you have other movies to opt for in the cinema, it might be better to chose the others. Unless of course if you wanted to see the performance of Hong Chau that earned her those nominations, or if you want to see a unique interesting topic. The choice is yours.

Mike's movie moments rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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