Kristen Wiig and Matt Damon in a scene from Alexander Payne's film "Downsizing," in competition at Venice.
Photo courtesy of the Venice Film Festival
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"Downsizing" has generated jumbo-sized buzz at the Venice Film Festival – not least as viewers debate how to describe it.Alexander Payne's movie mixes all those elements in its story of a man named Paul (Matt Damon) who tries to solve his problems by shrinking himself.Payne says that despite its sci-fi premise and international canvas, "Downsizing" is not so different to the films he's best known for – funny-sad stories of middle-aged or Midwestern strugglers such as "About Schmidt," "Sideways" and "Nebraska". That tone alternately puzzled and thrilled viewers in Venice, where the film has its gala premiere in the festival's coveted opening-night spot. The movie applies Payne's wry eye for human foibles to a plot that explores the power and limits of science and the threat of environmental catastrophe.Ultimately, the film rests on Payne's knack for depicting human relationships.
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