When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.


Sideways director Alexander Payne returns with an ambitious sci-fi satire that tackles the possible solution for a dying world.

In Norway a group of scientists discover the ability to shrink people down to several inches, believing that this will result in less overcrowding and a smaller amount of waste, thereby helping with the environment. Cut to 15 years later and small 'small' communities are being built across the globe, with many people going through the procedure known as downsizing. Two such people are Paul and Audrey Safranek, who decide to move to the seemingly idyllic community of Leisureland. Though things don't quite turn out for Paul as he expected.

The opening third of Downsizing is probably its best as Payne and regular co-writer Jim Taylor set about building this world with a beautiful and often hilarious attention to detail from the central characters decision to take the plunge to the practical details involved in the procedure itself.
If the rest of the film isn't quite as impressive, it's hard to fault its ambition as there are still many incidental pleasures and details to maintain interest throughout.

Matt Damon is fine enough as Paul, but he's playing a fairly straightforward ordinary guy. The supporting cast are more colourful. Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis are very good as Audrey and an old high school friend who convinces Paul of the benefits of downsizing. Christoph Waltz is fine as a hard-partying neighbour with Udo Kier also good as his friend. While Neil Patrick Harris and Laura Dern make a memorable but very brief appearance as 'downsized' sales people highlighting the palatial living accessible to even those on a modest budget.

Best of all though is relative unknown Hong Chau as Vietnamese dissident Ngoc, shrunk by her government for protesting against it (a negative use of the procedure the film could have explored further) and who escaped to America in an empty TV box. She's gives the film its emotional edge as Paul attempts to help her after she introduces him to the poorer side of Leisureland.

There are shades of The Truman Show in its depiction of a seemingly perfect community but Downsizing never feels as iconic, not quite making the most of its promising high concept.

It's still a worthy enough watch however thanks to its often very funny attention to detail and excellent cast.

By Kevin Knapman

Downsizing (15)

2h 15m

Alexander Payne
Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig

UK Release: Wednesday 24th January 2018

Downsizing - "Kitchen" Clip

Downsizing - "Real Rose" Clip