Film Review – Colossal (2017)

Nacho Vigalondo‘s (Time Crimes, Extraterrestrial) Colossal will probably be one of the most uniquely surreal movies you will watch in 2017. An impressive hybrid of genres that creates a movie that will think you know what’s going on when really you shouldn’t second guess. Just embrace the chaos as the indie Spanish filmmaker gives us the Godzilla of mumblecore.

Starring Anne Hathaway (in a role not too similar to her Rachel Getting Married) as Gloria a 30 something jobless Journalist/Blogger. Her life is on a downward spiral and when we meet her she’s returning from an alcoholic bender only to be thrown out of her home by her already fed up now ex-boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens).

Leaving behind the chaos of life in New York, Gloria heads back to her hometown to stay in her now vacant childhood home, with only the clothes on her back and her newly purchased air mattress. On her first day back she crosses paths with her one time childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), learning he now owns his father’s old bar. When he learn’s of Gloria’s plight he offers her a job and before you know it night after night her old alcoholic troubles return.

Meanwhile the other side of the world in South Korea’s capital Seoul, giant ‘Kaiju’ monster causes havoc when it attacks the city.With no expert coming up with a reason for the attacks after an intense bender Gloria slowly starts to piece together the pieces of the jigsaw, she might be responsible for the controlling the monster. From the regular time the monster appears (8.05 am local) everything is starting to come together quickly and that event of her past are connected to her unravelling.

This movie is like a metaphorical wet dream. There are so many possibilities to what this movie could be about, much truly outrageous (America’s Foreign Policy overseas) others very logical. In Colossal, the monster in Korea is that monster that inflames the inner demons haunt the lives of an addict or alcoholic. When you have an addiction it takes control of your life, leaving a path of destruction, marriages will end, families and friends split, you lose your job, even your reputation. What may start as a ‘laugh’ quickly escalates into something dark, deeply unsettling. When Gloria’s ‘monster’ kills ‘some’ people which deliver the shock to open her eyes, the catalyst for her to take re control of her life.

When Gloria is in control and starts to understand that Oscar has more connection to her life and that he’s just as damaged as her, if not more. Jason Sudeikis delivers a nuanced role that starts as something of good friend shapeshifting into a resentful, jealous controlling bully.Anne Hathaway is equally superb, she’s like the movie’s glue that keeps the movie flowing even when the world of her characters is falling apart. Similar movies will ask the viewer to be empathetic, she does that but she also lets you cheer and encourage her too.

Colossal won’t be a movie that will be liked by everyone nor does it ask the viewer to second guess what you think what this movie is all about. There may be monsters but those monsters may not always be those gigantic monsters causing havoc in Korea. This is a story of empowerment that will take you to dark places but will leave you fist pumping saying ‘yes we did it!‘. Walking away after watching a uniquely rewarding, captivating movie.

Paul Devine | ★★★★

Comedy, Drama | Spain, 2016 | 15 | 19th May 2017 (UK) | EDF Entertainment | Dir.Nacho Vigalondo | Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson

Originally posted at The Peoples Movies | 19th May 2017

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