Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 4/5 pints of Guinness
Last saw the release of Swiss Army Man, the story of a man’s budding relationship with a farting corpse, this year we have an alcoholic Anne Hathaway inadvertently controlling a monster rampaging through Seoul, Korea in this year’s oddball concept film, Colossal. Colossal is the latest film from director Nacho Vigalondo whose movies have always proved to be genre bending as ideas like time travel and alien invasions tend to be the secondary focus of his films.
Gloria (Hathaway) finds herself thrown out her apartment and dumped due to her reckless drinking and partying lifestyle. With nowhere else to go she heads to her old town and shacks up in her parent’s empty house with just a blowup bed and her laptop. She soon reconnects with her old classmate Oscar (Sudeikis) who offers her a job in his bar and provides her with furniture. Unfortunately, a job in the bar only intensifies her drinking leading to her getting constantly blackout drunk. After a heavy night, she finds that a giant monster has trampled through Seoul, Korea. Even stranger the Monster appears to reenact her exact movements at a certain time through a playground.
It’s difficult to describe the genre which Colossal best fits into, the trailers had me believe that it’s a dark comedy but I think it’s rather misleading. While there is humour, Gloria’s issues are taken seriously (as they should be). The monster is a physical manifestation of Gloria’s reckless behavior, it’s reckless destruction is an eye opener of how her actions affect others. It’s a neat little idea that once we see our monsters we can truly grasp the weight of their problems, especially when they’re destroying buildings and crushing people.
Before the concept becomes stale, Vigalondo takes the film in a rather unexpected direction which is at odds with the initial tone in the first two acts. It’s a brave choice that could have led to the downfall of the film but in fact plays to its strengths as a deeper theme unfolds. Colossal isn’t just about our monsters or alcoholism but rather how we can become bound to things and people. People find themselves bound in the form of addiction such as alcohol or by relationships. It sheds a light on how one can be bound to another leading to a toxic relationship where one can become easily trapped.
Ultimately Colossal offered far more than I initially expected and I really didn’t know what to expect. If you go in with an open mind and ignore the odd tone of the trailers there’s a thoughtful film which explores some dark themes in a unique and subverted way. The cast is great and Hathaway is fantastic as the disaster that is Gloria. It’s a triumph in unique storytelling and subverting genres and tropes.