Oh how long our ancestors have suffered over the centuries without WIFI! Whatever did they do with themselves? What’s more – aren’t you grateful for the silicon gifts? Always remember, Alan Turing died for our sins! Hallelujah for the Turing Machine! Amen for the iPhone we are saved!
I’m perplexed by the slew of negative reactions. Downsizing, although not a perfectly polished film like his 2005 masterpiece Sideways, is without a doubt Payne’s most ambitious and thoughtful political and social satire. I’ll explain why this is a great film – a twenty-first century Gulliver’s Travels.
Try actually seeing Stonehenge and it’s not at all like the movies. The sacred stones are protected behind a fence which protects them from the thousands of people rushing up to see it. Even though you have seen the pictures, have the postcards, have the video, everyone feels compelled to whip out their own smart phones … to get one of their own crappy pictures to go along with it. To be the personal photographer of Stonehenge, only this time joining hundreds of other people who all think they are special with their own personal photos too.
In place of political power of an enriched citizenry, the firearm, like God and gold, takes on a totemic power, representing the last stand of individual liberty.
Trumpism is like the political embodiment of those men who put truck nuts and noxious coal burners on their diesel pickup trucks filling up the streets with plumes of black death – what aficionados call “rollin’ coal,” or “Prius repellant.” Youtube has a plethora of videos where a couple of rednecks are yuckin’ in up watching their buddies billow plumes of death from their tailpipes on liberal roadside demonstrators in their pink hats. A glance at the comments below the videos and it’s clear who is watching ecocidal resentment porn – one read something like “nice job, should be using mustard gas though.”
But despite its flaws has an underlying structure that could have made for a great film. As time goes on, I’m beginning to realize a couple of things about Costner’s disaster epic. One, that it was perhaps an ill-timed film – perhaps made a decade too late or two decades too soon. And in the critical flaws of the film’s tone, particularly in the much dissed second half, could be much better interpreted in the real life dystopian Trumpian America of 2017.
The ruined malls pierce the consumer cultural veil. Where there was once children lining up to take a picture with Santa now has become a zombified postindustrial space. Some economists are predicting that in five years, half of the 5,000 malls in America will become ghost malls. Santa must find other places I guess.