When you sit down to watch a Matt Damon movie, you’re probably going to find yourself being wildly entertained for two hours. The man has starred in hit after hit since his career took off in the mid-’90s, and he hasn’t looked back… mostly. The truth is the actor has slipped up a few times, proving that he’s definitely human.
One of those perceived missteps is the 2017 movie Downsizing, which tanked in cinemas upon its release but is now proving to be popular on Netflix. Having arrived new on Netflix this month, the film doesn’t often end up on the list of the best Matt Damon movies, but it’s clearly finding an audience now after half a decade.
A sci-fi comedy-drama, Downsizing follows Damon’s character as he’s shrunk down to be five inches tall as part of a solution to overconsumption, and then goes on to live in a community of similarly small people. It’s a fascinating premise (clearly with the potential to be one of the best science fiction movies of the decade), but with a bizarre execution, the movie flopped hard at the box office, only pulling in a measly $55 million against a budget upwards of $68 million.
That in itself isn’t an indication of quality: some of the best movies of all time were flops (Blade Runner, for example, or John Carpenter’s The Thing). However, with Downsizing, it’s hard to imagine the movie being reappraised as a classic from Damon’s career. That was immediately clear from the film’s underwhelming reviews, and it currently holds an unimpressive 47% critics score and 25% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
That being said, Downsizing’s resurgence via Netflix isn’t a complete surprise. The film is an audacious one, with some brilliant performances, and is ultimately quite thoughtful in its examination of contemporary society’s flaws. We’d certainly rather see Damon swing and miss, than not swing at all and stick to more obvious projects and choices. It’s only through taking risks that Damon was able to get Good Will Hunting made alongside Ben Affleck, and that ended up being one of the best drama movies ever.
Equally, Downsizing came at a time in Damon’s career when the actor seemed to be struggling to find a new direction. In addition to Downsizing, between 2016 and 2017, the actor starred in the awful The Great Wall, as well as the bafflingly bad Suburbicon. Out of those three, we’d take Downsizing any day, even if it pales in comparison to his recent work.
In 2023 alone, Damon has had a stellar year by any metric, with central performances in the new movies Oppenheimer and Air. He excels in both and looks to be back on a more even footing. If he doesn’t end up being in the new Bourne movie, as has been reported, we’d be very aggrieved indeed.
For more on Damon, see why the actor was rejected by Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg for the same reason. Or, check out our list of the best Netflix series, before seeing all the latest updates on Deadpool 3.