The story of a woman’s ongoing mental breakdown somehow attributing to catastrophic events happening on the other side of the world, Colossal is a film like no other. Original as they come with a uniquely sharp premise worth the ticket price alone, the charming Anne Hathaway and always excellent Jason Sudeikis share great chemistry in Spanish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo’s latest offering of independent cinema. A special treat for comedy and science fiction fans alike, this blending of the two knocks predictability out of the park with its well written script and interesting characters still leaving room for plenty of surprises.
Gloria (Hathaway) is an unemployed writer and alcoholic, constantly either drunk or hungover. Tired of her behaviour and unwillingness to change, her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) breaks up with her and kicks her out of their New York apartment. Moving back to her hometown, Gloria ends up reuniting with her childhood friend Oscar (Sudeikis) who now runs the local bar, where he offers her a job to get back on her feet.
In the right place at the right time by coincidence one morning, Gloria wanders through a children’s playground when at the exact same moment, specifically 8:05am - worlds away a giant Kaiju resembling a giant horned monster appears in the streets of Seoul, South Korea, imitating her exact movements, leaving death and destruction just by appearing. Slowly coming to the realization that somehow she and this abnormal occurrence are somehow connected, she sets out to determine the why, how, what and if of the correlation between a colossal monster and her own existence as events continue to spiral out of control and out of all expectations.
Not adhering to a specific genre of film by bleeding together parts of romantic comedy, dark comedy and supernatural elements all meshed together with imaginative flare and interesting abstraction, Vigalondo displays creativity at its finest with his writing taking on the form of metaphor meets tragedy while depicting the human condition and relationships between people as realistic as they often are.
Anne Hathaway, Oscar winner and an actress who never underwhelms in anything she does, returns to her comedy roots quite well with her portrayal of a mysterious, charming and damaged all at once individual put in a difficult position not sure how to deal with it given her full plate of emotion already. Jason Sudeikis, one of the funniest comedians working in films today and who you’ll always have fun with, surprises in what starts out as a possible love interest but doesn’t take the clichéd route to easy plot points and instead serves as perhaps the most interesting character of the film – complicated, not content with the way his life turned out and maybe a little selfish. Together, the two of them spark fire. So believable as old friends seeing each other for the first time in years, then suddenly plunged into a strange set of events and forced to decide what to make of it, the two actors share the screen so remarkably well that’ll you try and figure out why they haven’t starred together before now.
Not burdened by big locations or action set pieces, the setting of the film resembles its independent nature in that it feels like the events could happen anywhere, from your backyard to your local shopping mall. Given the fact a lot of the film’s key scenes either take place in the local bar or children’s playground, the setting makes for a level of excitement when we do travel to Seoul for glimpses of the titular monster throughout, reminiscent of the best of the old Japanese monster films.
Coming from a giant leap of originality and filled to the brim with explosive comedy, Colossal is simply put an awesomely entertaining movie. Strange, but beautiful and encasing an exceptional lead performance by Anne Hathaway, you’ll be thinking about this one long after viewing and hopefully telling all your friends about it.
She is colossal.