Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Downsizing Film Review

I saw Downsizing last week, directed by Alexander Payne, and loved the idea of a world in miniature, with a mountain of cash and a lifetime of leisure to spend it.

Rolf Lassgård's Danish Dr. Jorgen Asbjørnsen comes up with the Nobel Prize winning way to shrink the world to a miniature 5 inches, helping to save the planet with their Borrower style living. And with an original group of downsizers, who set up the first colony, including their own miniature babies. Of course the world loves it.

Because now you can live in a miniature playground made for the rich, at a fraction of the normal cost. With $52,000 dollars in the big world equating to over £12 million dollars in the small one. Why even Neil Patrick Harris has done it and he really recommends it. Wife Laura Dern bathes in diamonds. Rocks that cost less than a hundred dollars for a whole set.

So inspired by the fact that they have no money, and cannot afford to move up, Omaha living Matt Damon's Paul Safranek, and wife Kristen Wiig's Audrey, decide to go for it. College friend Jason Sudeikis did it, and although you're helping to save the planet, hell it's the fun of all that money that's the real reason for getting small.

So the big downsizing day approaches, and fortunately everything goes well. Sort of. Because Paul finds himself small and alone in a world that's all about hedonism and money and drugs and drink. And he's introduced to it by wheeler dealer neighbour Dusan, played by Christoph Waltz, and having a riotous time. But that life isn't for everybody, because there still needs to be an army of little people to clean up after all the excess of the rich. And Paul finds himself helping one of these little people. Hong Chau's Ngoc was shrunk by the Vietnamese government as punishment for being a political dissident. But after he breaks her false leg he feels responsible, so joins her cleaning team. And she cleans for Dusan.

Of course Dusan finds it hilarious. And it is funny her being Paul's boss. But Ngoc isn't bitter about her situation, she helps everyone she can. And Paul finds that there's a whole community of poor disadvantaged people that as a physiotherapist he can help.

Although we have no interaction with the big world, news filters through that global warming is still happening. Dusan and his friend Udo Kier's Konrad plan to visit Dr. Jorgen, and the original Norwegian colony where something big is happening. And invite Paul. Ngoc invites herself along.

The colony plan to move underground never to return. But given that they have such a small foot print in the world, it's a big decision for everyone, and the entrance is hilariously sealed afterwards.

In terms of ideas, the film was terrific, and as we know Global Warming is real, anything that draws our attention to it is welcome. However small we are, we still destroy the planet. But it all got a bit Tomorrowland, when selfishly I wanted more excess and enjoyment of life. And in that respect loved the design of the miniature world. When the option is available I'm definitely moving there with my millions. And I'll be feeling good about helping to save the planet.

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