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DOWNSIZING (2017) – My rating: 7.5/10

Downsizing is an American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne and also co-written by Payne and Jim Taylor.  What an adventure Downsizing has turned out to be. This movie was so unique, I was unable to predict anything.  However, this is where most of my praises end because there are a million reasons Downsizing could never happen.  This movie is the fantasy of all fantasies.  I think I have the most problem with 5″ people, that’s just not feasible.

In a futuristic world, Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon, a physical therapist and Kristen Wiig, respectively) are living in Omaha, Nebraska with financial issues. At a high-school reunion, they encounter Dave and Carol Johnson (Jason Sudeikis and Maribeth Monroe, respectively) who have gone through the process of “downsizing”.  This process, which is irreversible was invented 15 years earlier and involves shrinking humans to a height of five inches. While the inventors advocate that downsizing is environmentally friendly through the reduction of waste, Dave argues that its benefits extend far beyond that and improve one’s life through the increase in value of their money.  Their total assets of 125K would add up to 10 times as much as they have now or clearing 12.5M allowing them to live a very different lifestyle.  Everyone the Safranek’s interviewed seemed to be happy and without any money issues.  Children born to the downsized residents are born small and all body parts are in proportion.  Animals are separated from the downsized by domes and hundreds of precautions are taken to protect all personnel.  So needless to say, after exploring all the possibilities of downsizing, Paul and Audrey agreed to undergo the process and move to Leisureland, one of the most popular communities for downsized individuals.  The procedure is turned out to be grueling and unnerving which caused one of them to back down at the last second.  At this point, there’s no way to warn the other so only one ends up going through with the procedure.

Now you may think I’ve just given away this movie but I assure you, it’s only just begun.  After getting over my anger at the spouse who wimped out for not jumping through hoops to let the other know of their decision, I wondered what would happen to the other since the procedure is irreversible.  There must assuredly be a divorce for starters, and what about the money.  How would that be allocated?  Or would the other spouse have a change of heart and come on board later?  Where would one find love in this small community, and if companionship couldn’t be found, what would their future look like without someone to share such a meager existence with?  Choices are limited and regret began to show up rapidly.

Outside the walls of Leisureland, life was not so pretty and the ugly was about to be revealed.  A savvy Vietnamese political activist, turned housecleaner named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau),  who was jailed and downsized against her will is about to change the entire flavor of Downsizing.  Now I will stop here and give you an opportunity to see the movie for yourself.  My 7.5 rating is only because of it’s inability to work as a workable plot, ever.  Otherwise, Downsizing is a very interesting story with all the horror and suffering man is truly capable of creating.  Lan Tran was the sole survivor of a human smuggling attempt to the United States in a television box and had her leg amputated upon arrival.  Downsizing is definitely worth seeing.  Check it out!

 

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (2017) – My rating: 9/10

Surprisingly, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a comedy written by Tom O’Connor and directed by Patrick Hughes, is very funny and very entertaining. The movie left me wanting more. The action was spot-on as it showed two know-it-all bodyguard/hitmen who protect as well as kill for a living, respectively battle it out between themselves. Each with their own set of personal issues, presented a hilariously dark look into their twisted lifestyles. Somehow, being brought together was the best thing that could have happened to them.

Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is hired to protect Takashi Kurosawa (Tsuwayuki Saotome), a Japanese arms dealer. All seems well but as Kurosawa is about to board a plane, he is shot in the head. Having lost a client, Bryce has fallen into disgrace and after two years is now making a living protecting drug-addicted corporate executives. Meanwhile, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator of Belarus, is put on trial for crimes against humanity at the International Court of Justice. The prosecution is unable to make headway against him, as they are unable to substantiate their allegations with physical evidence and Dukhovich assassinates any witnesses who could do so. The prosecution’s last hope is notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who agrees to testify against Dukhovich in exchange for the exoneration of his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek), who is currently incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.

Interpol Assistant Director Jean Foucher (Joaquim de Almeida), assigns Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung), a greenhorn agent who is Bryce’s estranged ex-girlfriend, to lead a squad of Interpol agents tasked with escorting Kincaid to The Hague to testify. However, the convoy is ambushed in Coventry and everyone except Kincaid and Roussel is killed. The two retreat to a safehouse, where they deduce someone in Interpol must have betrayed them to Dukhovich. Realizing that they need someone who is completely unaffiliated with Interpol and can remain trustworthy, Roussel contacts Bryce. Bryce is reluctant to help, as he has had multiple conflicts with Kincaid in the past and believes that Roussel was responsible for the death of Kurosawa two years ago, but ultimately agrees to aid them in exchange for the restoration of his good name. Roussel returns to Interpol to update them on the situation while Bryce and Kincaid escape an attack by Dukhovich’s men.

At this point, interaction between Bryce and Kincaid (the story of The Hitman’s Bodyguard) begins.  Lots of action, lots of funny one liners and brilliant performances by Ryan, Jackson and Hayek.  The cinematography was magnificent, as well as the special effects.  I really enjoyed the movie and the message was a profound lessen for all.  I highly recommend The Hitman’s Bodyguard to all.