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Review: Downsizing, 2017

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downsizing posterDirector: Alexander Payne 

Writers: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor 

Stars: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau 

Downsizing is a film that has big ideas but comes up short. However, that’s not even my biggest problem with the film. While trailers shouldn’t necessary define a movie, it’s certainly a selling the movie. Trailers tend to take certain liberties, but the Downsizing trailer had me expecting a completely different movie. That being said, the film took concepts with potential and failed at executing almost each one of them. It suffered from being about twenty minutes too long, though a better plot may have excused the lengthy film.

Downsizing isn’t all-bad, there are plenty of positives to pull from the movie. Primarily Hong Chau’s performance. Though the accent could be consider stereotypical, I believe Chau was pulling from experience. I enjoyed Matt Damon and Christoph Waltz’s performances as well, though I saw very little character development for Damon’s Paul Safranek and Waltz’s Dusan Mirkovic. Chau’s Ngoc Lan Tran, on the other hand, stole the show. The character has a great arc, that should have likely gone to Damon, which is charmingly ignorant.

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As mentioned above, the trailer sells the audience a different movie. I was expecting a dark comedy that ended emotionally, with the characters, specifically Paul, gaining some self-discovery. Instead, Downsizing is a very bland movie. The first 30 minutes or so contains much of the “comedy” shown in the trailer and does keep you intrigued. The next 60 minutes or so feel like 90 and nothing really happens. Honestly, this is one of those movies where if you remove Paul (the main character), nothing in the film changes. Everything would have happened with or without his existence.


I was expecting a much different film when I walked into Downsizing. It suffers from run time too long for the plot, or lack of one, given. The story is bland, despite all the potential it had. One of the only highlights are the performances from the main cast.


Images courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr
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