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Downsizing

Director:  Alexander Payne
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  3.0

A Norwegian scientist discovers a way to "shrink" human beings to inches as a way to save the environment and make those who are struggling financially be able to afford luxury items, so physical therapist Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) agree to do just that ... except Audrey bails at the last minute (the procedure is irreversible) and tiny Paul has to make it on his own, eventually having a chance encounter with Vietnamese dissident Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) with one leg who needs his help. This release got lost in the shuffle of the mass production/deluge of 2017 movies, but as satire it's cutting and direct: we're ruining our own planet, we are wasteful, we need to make changes about how we live ... and it even addresses how even the society of little homo sapiens turns into a parallel of the regular-sized ones, with marginalized blue collar types forced to live outside in overcrowded squalor outside the city walls (people never stop being people). Sure, it probably takes on more than it can handle, and no, it's not the quotable riot that Idiocracy was, but Payne and long-time co-writer Jim Taylor did try to think it through, down to the tooth fillings and the wackadoodle Utopians and unscrupulous capitalists (Christoph Waltz and Udo Kier ... what an exquisite duo). One thing they missed: concerns over being stepped on.

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