|Scene from Downsizing|
There's something curious about Alexander Payne's latest movie Downsizing. Whereas he generally has made small and intimate comedies, he sees himself exploring stories that are small in every way but concept. The film looks to explore the effects of getting smaller, with another performance by Matt Damon (see also: Suburbicon). It's an odd venture for sure, but one has to wonder if Payne has what it takes to return to the Oscars circle following his Best Picture-nominated Nebraska. If there's any sign from the first trailer, things are at least off to a shaky but promising start.
In general, I think that Payne is one of the greatest directors currently working. Even at his weakest (The Descendants), I feel like he's trying something interesting and finding ways to make humanity funny. Nebraska is a film that I wholeheartedly love for personal reasons, and have been eager to see what he came up with next. To be honest, he could've done another Midwest yarn where "nothing" happens, and I would've been fine. It's at the heart of his best films, like About Schmidt and Sideways. He finds ways to make the simple action of people hanging out into the film's most compelling elements.
I am a little hesitant with Downsizing, if just because it's a little unexpected. I don't go to Payne movies because he has the highest concepts. In fact, I hardly go to them for the plot usually. Yet this film has been marketed as one that sees him explore what happens when you shrink a human being. I'm sure that there will be rich subtext, but the early criticism suggests that this movie is a bit misguided, and it has me worried. Considering that The Circle is arguably the weakest movie from a favorite director despite tackling high concept and modern themes, it does look like maybe this will be a bit of a disappointment. Considering how tepid Suburbicon's response has been so far, there's a decent chance that maybe Matt Damon will have an underwhelming Fall.
Check out the trailer below:
It looks decent. Here's the plot according to IMDb:
A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.
I will admit that there's a part of me that thinks it is a bit underwhelming. I think that the trailer does a decent job of getting all of the points across. It definitely explains the play on words that is the Downsizing title. I even like how it tries to paint things as wholesome and full of rich wonder. My only worry is that some aspects are a bit generic, such as the use of Talking Heads in the back half. It may just be a way to market a film, but I want to believe that there's more to this movie than hokey gimmicks. That's what seeing the movie is for, and I'll see it regardless. I just hope Payne has something valuable to say in all of this.