Continuing my London Film Festival coverage, I was lucky enough to see Academy-Award winner Alexander Payne's return to directing with his satirical social commentary/comedy: Downsizing. Here's my review. 

With over-population becoming a real problem, the world invents a procedure known as 'Downsizing' - in which its subjects are shrunk to five inches to live a more environmentally, and economically, friendly lifestyle. Tired of his mundane life, and merely scraping by, Paul Safronek (Matt Damon) and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), decide to downsize themselves and live life in the small. Alexander Payne is known for films that not only are comedic but ones that often have a melancholic and satirical edge to them. Downsizing is no different. The screenplay here is so rich and superbly written; it's sharp and hilarious and exploding with such ingenuity. Of course, as we'd expect from any Payne screenplay, this film is hilarious; it's honestly laugh-a-minute and easily one of the funniest films of the year - I found myself laughing harder at a film than I have in some time. However, the comedy here is ingenious and it's very refreshing to see humour that is actually smart. More than that, though, Downsizing is also so complex and nuanced - thematically - focusing on some interesting and relevant environmental concepts and ideas. It never feels too heavy-handed either and Payne blends it seamlessly with the film's central comedy and heart and makes it work - and accessible too!
There is so much brilliance boiling beneath the surface of Downsizing; this is a film so layered with subtext and depth. The characters too are all so rich and subliminally realised; there is an authenticity to them all, Damon's Safronek, especially, as our eyes into this world - the traditional everyday man. His performance is superb too; Damon is one of the most underrated actors working today and his work here is impressive and touching. He is matched by a stellar supporting cast too, including an always brilliant Christoph Waltz and Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Hong Chau and more (there are plenty of great cameos on offer throughout too). However, it's Chau that steals the show here. She matches Damon blow-for-blow and gives such a subdued, compelling performance here and one that is gut-bustingly funny.

Downsizing is a showcase of a plethora of astounding work, not only from its cast but also in Payne's directing and the impressive screenplay from himself and Jim Taylor too. It has a story to tell and it tells it with such aplomb; it's side-splittingly hilarious yet just as profound and thought-provoking but also matched with such a big, beating and beautiful heart. It's polished and captivating, and Payne commands this film with such vigour and craftsmanship. It's also very unpredictable too, winding in directions you'd never expect it to go. For a film all about the small, Downsizing feels so grand and bold. It's an earnest and extraordinary piece of work. Yes, meanders around for a film with pacing that can drag at times but it's hilarious and it's so much more. It's out-there and heartfelt and, easily, one of the year's best - and certainly most surprising - films yet.


For a film all about the small, Downsizing is grand in its storytelling. And it's an earnest and surprising delight.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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