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DOWNSIZING

SYNOPSIS:
A social satire in which Pual Safranek (Matt Damon) realizes that he could have a better life if he were to allow himself to be shrunk.

Review by Louise Keller:
Perceptions are turned on their head in this high concept satire in which Alexander Payne goes for broke, as twists and turns navigate through a maze of innovative ideas. The film may not be as perfect as Nebraska and it falters here and there, but it takes the prize as far as edginess goes. And there are no compromises. In a wonderful conceit in which he turns everything upside down, Payne is fearless as he attacks the world's big issues - in a small world.

As to be expected, there is the obvious one-gag joke. But there is also much more, and surprise is a constant element as the storyline goes left of field. The laughs are genuine - we recognize the truths. I love the way celebrity is turned on its ear. But it would be fair to say that overall, the sum of the film's parts are greater than the whole; our sense of disbelief is pushed a little too far.

Payne's ability to suck us into his reality however is faultless. As is Matt Damon, who as Everyman accompanies us on the journey: a decent man carrying the world on his shoulders and who eventually finds new ways to discover his purpose. Around him, Payne has created two apposite characters. Christoph Waltz, with a leering smile and likeable bonhomie delivers yet another great turn as the self-serving neighbour, whose debauched world is a total contrast to Hong Chau's Vietnamese dissident. She is the selfless do-gooder. While Chau's character turns the keys to our emotions, her mannered delivery is off-putting. It fluctuates in and out of credibility. Payne intention to create the contrasts between the characters causes his judgment to fail.

At 132 minutes, the film is long, but the critical establishment of Paul Safranek's (Damon) reality in which he and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are sinking, is important. Rolf Lassgard as the Norwegian scientist is terrific and there are delicious cameos by Laura Linney (in a bathtub swathed in diamonds) and Neil Patrick Harris as a smarmy salesman. Udo Kier (eerily reminiscent of Terence Stamp) works well with Waltz, especially in the scenes in the breathtaking fjords of Norway.

Production and technical elements are excellent and the sense of proportion and perspective, perfect. Ironically, the journey into the world of Lilliputian proportions is its own antithesis. A flawed but thought-provoking foray that offers a new perspective of life as we know it - for better, bigger or smaller.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

DOWNSIZING (M)
(US, 2017)

CAST: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgard, Ingjerd Egeberg, Udo Kier

PRODUCER: Jim Burke, Megan Ellison, Mark Johnson, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

DIRECTOR: Alexander Payne

SCRIPT: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phedon Papamichael

EDITOR: Kevin Tent

MUSIC: Rolfe Kent

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stefania Cella

RUNNING TIME: 135 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2017







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