With today’s announcement that Alexander Payne’s Downsizing will open the 2017 Venice International Film Festival on 8.30, there’s a 95% chance that Payne and his cast (Matt Damon, Kirsten Wiig, Laura Dern, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis) will fly to the Telluride Film Festival a day or two later. In my recently posted Telluride spitball piece, I wrote that Downsizing looked like a nope — “Too late in the year, too much FX tweaking, too much finessing and re-editing.” And I was wrong. That happens from time to time.
After watching several minutes of footage from Downsizing last March at Cinemacon, I wrote that “the undercurrent felt a teeny bit spooky, like a futuristic social melodrama in the vein of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
“In its matter-of-fact portrait of middle-class Americans willing to shrink themselves down to the size of a pinkie finger in order to reap economic advantages, Downsizing doesn’t appear to be the sort of film that will instill euphoric feelings among Average Joes. It struck me as a reimagining of mass man as mass mice — a portrait of little people buying into a scheme that’s intended to make their lives better but in fact only makes them…smaller. A bit like Trump voters suddenly realizing that their lot isn’t going to improve and may even get worse.