Writer-director Alexander Payne is known for his acerbic comedy-dramas and character studies like “Election,” “Sideways,” and “Nebraska,” which are generally set in the real world or something like it. So “Downsizing” looks on the surface like a sharp left turn for the filmmaker into the world of sci-fi. Watch the new trailer above.
It’s not “Avatar” or “Star Wars”-type sci-fi, but rather a speculative futurist vision more like “Her” (2013), which was embraced by the Oscars despite its offbeat nature. Where “Her” envisioned a future where artificial intelligence has advanced to the point of sentient operating systems — “Siri, what did you think of that movie?” — “Downsizing” is set in a world where overpopulation and limited resources have led humans to literally shrink themselves to “approximately 0.0364% of their current mass and volume.” Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig star as a married couple who decide to undergo the procedure.
“Downsizing” had its world premiere on August 30 as the opening film at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, where it received praise from critics. At this early stage it has a MetaCritic score of 76, with Owen Gleiberman (Variety) calling it “ingenious” and Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter) describing it as “captivating.” It opens to audiences on December 22.
The film has a strong awards pedigree. In addition to direction by Oscar winner Payne, a script by Payne and Oscar winning co-writer Jim Taylor, and Oscar winner Damon in the lead role, it co-stars double Oscar champ Christoph Waltz, Oscar nominee Laura Dern, Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris, and breakout star Hong Chau. Do you think this unconventional film will be a Best Picture contender?
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