Downsizing: Strangeness of a Shrunken Person

Great special effects, especially after the use of computers for their creation, made possible a quick visit to distant and magnificent worlds and universes. Even so, it is interesting to note that entanglements using shrunken people have not yet been very well perfected. Maybe it’s because it’s so much stranger to think of a six-inch man than a visit to a distant galaxy.

We can not confuse these films with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, 1989, or Ant-Man, 2015. In these, the characters become so tiny that the weirdness disappears. When we see their point of view, we find new worlds, like a garden that becomes a forest larger than the Amazon and cells of the human body that become gigantic.

The productions that cause strangeness are those in which normal characters see others shrunk without much effort. The greatest example of these is The Incredible Shrinking Man, 1959, although moments of shrinkage appear in other films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (scenes that are used for the purpose of collision). And it is exactly this kind of shock and strangeness that is part of Little Big Life, directed by Alexander Payne.

The plot, which takes place in the not too distant future, shows human life after European scientists invent the machine of shrinkage. Since small people take up less space, and as the world is facing an economic catastrophe, many soon decide to shrink, living in houses no larger than a doll’s, but which, in a sense, look like a mansion. So shrunken women who like jewelry can buy huge diamonds, since the tiny real size makes everything cheaper. It’s food? A biscuit can last for years.

It is with this in mind that the couple Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to shrink. After all, they can soon live like billionaires. However, Audrey gives up at the last moment, unable to warn Paul, who is shrunk. Thus, in a traumatic way, their married life ends, with Paul having to adapt to the new and strange environment.

The film, which uses comedy effectively to help the viewer adapt to the idea, also shows how technology is negatively used by corrupt people in poor countries to shrink enemies, for example. And it is in this way that the film tries to show various aspects of humanity.

However, the strangeness of this kind of long continues always, and is not easy to forget. In interviews, Alexander Payne says his intention was only to create a metaphor for the present world, saying that “we are already small in front of the universe.” Well, if we are small in front of the universe, we are not in relation to other people. Thus, the film never earns seriousness as a metaphor.

Production gains value when assisted as a science fiction and with thoughts of what life would be like if such technology were invented. Other than that, the comedy is still worthwhile, as well as some thrilling scenes, which count on the great performance of Thai actress Hong Chau, playing Ngoc Lan Tran.

Even so, as a movie, Downsizing can not solve a complicated plot, which starts well, but soon gets lost in the strangeness of a shrunken person and in the creation of a not very obvious metaphor.

(This article original language is portuguese. This translation was made with Google Translate)

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