Damon’s ‘Downsizing’ on the up in Venice

The Venice film festival kicked off Wednesday with "Downsizing", a sci-fi-inspired drama starring a miniaturised Matt Damon, opening to effusive reviews. Occupying a curtain-raising slot that has come to be seen as a launchpad for films with Oscar ambitions, Alexander Payne's part satirical, part save-the-planet new work was hailed as a breath of fresh air from the "Sideways" and "Nebraska" director. The Hollywood Reporter said Payne had "hit the creative jackpot", while Variety welcomed a "ticklish and resonant crowd pleaser for grown ups". London's Evening Standard was more reserved, praising the film as "often very funny" but bemoaning the abandonment of its initial satirical edge. Set in the near future, the film is based on the premise that scientists have found a way to literally reduce humanity's environmental footprint by downsizing

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