Colossal (2017) – Film Review
Written and directed by Spaniard Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal is an unusual low-budget science fiction black comedy independent film mash-up but with some serious star power in Anne Hathaway on board as main star and executive producer.
Hathaway (who recalls a similar role in Rachel getting Married) stars as unemployed 30-something writer Gloria who seems to be an alcoholic who has run out of money.
Kicked out of his New York apartment by frustrated boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens, Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast), Gloria is forced to return to her hometown to live in the unfurnished, unrented former family home owned by her parents.
She bumps into former childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis, Horrible Bosses) who never left their hometown and now runs his late father’s bar.
He offers her a job working at his bar and introduces her to two of his friends – Joel (Austin Stowell, Bridge of Spies) and Garth (Tim Blake Nelson, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) – who she starts hanging out with for drinking sessions after the bar closes in the evening but that’s hardly the best idea for an alcoholic.
So far so indy comedy, but the twist comes when Gloria takes to sleeping off her drunken stupors on a bench next to a children’s playground on the way to the elementary school that Gloria and Oscar used to attend but then starts to hear about the invasion of South Korea’s capital city Seoul by a Kaiju – a giant lizard monster not unlike the ones featured in Pacific Rim (2013).
And, yes, things get even weirder after that after she works out that the lizard monster appears to be mimicking her actions in what is a very original plot which draws parallels with Gloria’s addiction to alcohol, a slowly revealed childhood trauma, and that’s before the story takes a darker turn.
Jason Sudeikis provides a dark turn for Colossal
There’s a meaty role for Sudeikis opposite Hathaway – one scene in particular is an incendiary highlight – as the film begins to plumb deeper depths.
Both main actors put in fine performances, although Dan Stevens’ Tim was given a two-dimensional role as the Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend.
With so many films lately being predictable and unoriginal this one kept me guessing until the very end with the dark themes brought up paralleled by the monster action.
It’s easy to overlook some of the low-budget cgi in this film but it should be applauded for offering something new. In this case, the monster action serves as a metaphor for what happens in reality while managing to just about avoid veering into schlock.
In a week with an Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy and a Guy Ritchie cockney King Arthur film it’s certainly an unusual choice but if you can find it running at a local cinema then please do give it a go.
Colossal (15; strong language; 109 minutes)
Summary: COLOSSAL is a US sci-fi comedy drama in which a woman struggling with alcohol addiction discovers she has a connection to a giant monster rampaging through Seoul.