Alexander Payne’s new film Downsizing, is an uneven, but engaging science-fiction satire that proposes to solve the earth’s ecological and other problems by “downsizing,” or physically shrinking, human beings. The creator of such noteworthy films as Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002) and Nebraska (2013), Payne employs, in Downsizing, a generally light touch in attempting to address pressing social ills.
In Roman J. Israel, Esq., the dilemma of the independent-minded Israel evokes the condition of many conscientious individuals in various fields today, including the film industry. Gilroy must surely be commenting on the current reality in Hollywood, where giant conglomerates attempt to control or smother any oppositional projects. Gilroy explores the moral and creative dimensions and consequences of being trapped in a world that has been reduced, as he puts it, to “transactions,” between people.