Downsizing (2017)

Director: Alexander Payne

Writer: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgard, Ingjerd Edeberg

 

Plot: A social satire in which a man realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself to five inches tall, allowing him to live in wealth and splendor.

 


Tagline – We are meant for something bigger.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky Comedy

 

Story: Downsizing starts as we enter a world where scientists have perfected the idea of shrinking people to help decrease the overpopulation problem the world will be facing, the experiment was a success and is now an option for people around the world.

10 years later the world has accepted downsizing with communities appear all over America, here we meet Paul (Damon) and his wife Audrey (Wiig) who have been struggling in the economic changes and after advice decide to go through with the procedure. Things don’t go as planned as Audrey backs out leaving Paul alone in this new environment Leisure Land.

After spending the first year alone in Leisure Land, Paul meets his carefree party animal upstairs neighbour Dusan (Waltz) who shows him a different side to life and how to enjoy his life once more which happens sooner than he thinks when he meets Nogc Lan Tran (Chau).

 

Thoughts on Downsizing

 

Characters – Paul is an average man with an average job, but a real problem with money in the real world, he turns to downsizing program where he can live a better life. There he finds himself alone until he learns about a bigger problem, which he sets out to try and help with. Dusan is the neighbour living in Leisure Land, he is carefree and shows Paul how to enjoy his time in this new environment. Ngoc Lan Tran is a refugee that gets handicapped in her escape becoming a cleaner in Leisure Land showing that not everyone in this land is rich, she helps Paul see a new meaning from life.

PerformancesMatt Damon is great in the leading role, he gives performance that is filled with confliction, confusion and in need of finding a purpose in life, it shows in each emotion that he shows us. Christoph Waltz is a lot of fun in his role where he sees him enjoying playing the carefree character. Hong Chau in wonderful in her role, she brings everything we need to see as Paul makes his decisions.

StoryThe story has plenty of social commentary going on, as we see how the real-world problems trying to be addressed in an alternative solution, in this case shrinking the population. We do see the classes being addressed in the same way regardless of size and how one big decision you can never go back from can leave you right where you were supposed to be. This story doesn’t go in the direction you would imagine but does play out well becoming a subject you don’t mind seeing the people watching.

Comedy/Sci-FiThe comedy hits the quirky level with ease and puts us into a world where this procedure is a possibility which checks of the sci-fi side of the story too.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the characters live have been, will go and how not everything is as it first appears.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well to make sure everything is scaled to the right size for the difference in the people involved.


Scene of the Movie –
Norway.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It goes on too long and the direction you wouldn’t expect.

Final ThoughtsThis is a quirky comedy that plans into the social commentary that will be looked at as we do tackle bigger issues in the world including over population.

 

Overall: Quirky and enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – N – Nebraska (2013)

nebrakaDirector: Alexander Payne

Writer: Bob Nelson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach

 

Plot: An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Comedy Drama

 

Story: Nebraska starts as Woody Grant (Dern) an elder man who believes he has won the Million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes and wants to travel from Montana to Nebraska to receive his prize. The problem comes where he keeps trying to walk the journey which drives his wife Kate (Squibb) and two adult kids David (Forte) and Ross (Odenkirk) crazy.

After it becomes clear he just won’t give up on this journey David agrees to travel cross country with him in a journey which will bring the two closer than they have been in David’s life. While the story continues to unfold, we learn that this trip means more than the money to Woody and as the news spreads he might have won the money people from his past come out of the woodwork trying to stake their own claim to a piece of it all.

 

Thoughts on Nebraska

 

Characters/PerformanceWoody is an elderly man who just wants to know his place with the people who knew dying and his memory going, Woody just wants to go on this journey to have one last memory of something he achieved in his life. David is the younger son who is the softer of the two brothers, he sees this journey as his last chance to be with his father, learning about his past in a journey he never got to experience as a young boy. Kate is the wife of Woody who is getting tired of all the trouble Woody has been causing, you can see the love between the two as they have been spending years together through the good and bad moments.

Bruce Dern is fantastic in this role that deals with all the problems the character is dealing with. Will Forte who I only knew from comedy was also fantastic in this role with June Squibb getting nearly all of the laughs with her character’s rants.stara

StoryLooking at the story we see one man’s search for an extra memory before he feels he will finally lose his memory. This is a road trip movie that shows the bon between father and son can reach new levels at any age. I feel the story gives Woody a chance to look at where he grows up, where his friends from his youth are and put the past behind him once and for all.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure the family go on while simple is a cross-country journey, we have great light-hearted comedy going on throughout the film.

SettingsThe small town America setting shows how people can live full lives without getting out and when you return you can see how much you have escaped.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is one film I was always unsure of watching, I never got any good vibes from it but this was easily one of the best I have seen from the year of release.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama that you can understand every moment the characters feel.

Ratingrating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – D – The Descendants (2011)

Director: Alexander Payne

Writer: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash (Screenplay) Kaui Hart Hemmings (Novel)

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Patricia Hastie, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer

 

Plot: A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Drama

 

Story: The Descendants starts as Matt King (Clooney) a land baron and lawyer who has been distant from his wife Elizabeth and children Alexandra (Woodley) and Scottie (Miller), when Elizabeth (Hastie) is involved in an accident and left in a coma, Matt must become the lead parent, something he hasn’t done in year.

In the middle of a massive sale of his family’s land Matt learns the reality of what will be happening to Elizabeth, wishing he could give it all up for more time with his family. This takes a turn when Matt learns that Elizabeth was having an affair and that is why Alexandra no longer wanted to speak to her mother.

Matt must put his own problems a side to become the father he never was even when his own life is coming crashing down around him.

 

Thoughts on The Descendants

 

Characters/PerformanceMatt has spent his life working and not being the family man he is should have been, he must face reality after his wife’s accident becoming the father he never was, learning about the secrets his wife was keeping from him. Alexandra is the eldest daughter who knows about the affair but standing on her father’s side, she must become the big sister lil Scottie needs through the situation. Scottie is the youngest daughter who is lost because of the accident not quite understand the situation. The rest of the characters all help Matt make his decisions he needs to be making for the good of the family.

Performance wise, Clooney is brilliant and easily gives one of his performances of his career, this is also a big break out role for Woodley who showed the world her abilities. Miller does well as does the rest of the cast who make each scene enjoyable to watch.

StoryThe story shows us the difficult situations a family would go through if a parent got injured suddenly, we see the rebuilding of a family, secrets exposed that would bring strain on everything as well as how they got through it all. It shows how difficult it would be for a parent learning the truth who must stay strong for their children too. This is a beautiful told story that you can understand each and every decision any character make through the film.

SettingsHawaii as the backdrop for this film is beautiful but it is quick to tell us just how it isn’t only a tropical paradise, it has the same problems the rest of the world does.

Final ThoughtsA film about loss is always hard to get through but this one is almost a joy because it shows just how difficult learning about secrets would be.

 

Overall: This is a great drama I feel everyone should see.

Rating