Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Downsizing (the movie)

If you saw that a movie bore the title Downsizing, you would intuitively think it would be about what happens when one or more individuals lose their job. Filmmaker Alexander Payne (Nebraska, The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt, Election, Citizen Ruth0 is far more adventurous than that. He refuses to go to the places everyone expects.

His latest, Downsizing, is scheduled to be released at the end of the year (i.e., awards season) and is based on the fascinating premise that if you shrink members of the human race down to five inches, it reduces their needs (they now require much smaller homes, less food, tinier cars, etc.) while expanding their purchasing power. The environmental message of the movie is that is also generates a much smaller carbon footprint.

Reese Witherspoon was originally set to star in the film (she agreed to the project as far back as 2009), allowing her to do another film with the director who guided her in Election. A little more than a year ago, however, it was announced that Kristen Wiig had replaced Witherspoon as the female lead. I still don’t know why. The rest of the cast includes Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Margo Martindale and Laura Dern (who starred in Payne’s Citizen Ruth some 20 years ago).

Critic Jeffrey Wells says he saw a 10-minute clip from the film yesterday during a movie convention in Las Vegas and called it "awesome, brilliant, hilarious, sad and a tiny bit scary — an obvious Best Picture contender." He went on to say "It’s well acted, earnest, scientifically palatable as far as it goes, emotionally honest, fascinating and darkly funny. And the visual & practical effects are top-notch. It’s going to be great — you can tell."

Here’s a brief preview which, admittedly, fails to convey either the film's premise or Wells's assertions, but, hey, it's all I've got right now:

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