This is not just another monster movie. Set in a small town, the mind-blowing and baffling Colossal focuses on unemployed and alcoholic writer Gloria (Anne Hathaway), who discovers a perplexing connection to a rampaging Godzilla-like “kaiju” creature in Seoul. There are giant robots involved too. Confused? On paper – and screen – the story is peculiar, but if viewers stick with it they will be fantastically surprised. Even if Colossal is not always perfectly executed, director Nacho Vigalondo makes a monstrous effort to bring audiences something completely different.
After she is dumped by her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), Gloria returns to her suburban hometown and, by chance, meets her former classmate Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and his friends/drinking buddies. The first 20 minutes could easily be another mid-budget drama; what happens next defies logic and expectation. Seemingly inexplicably, Gloria’s actions in a playground translate to a giant monster’s actions halfway across the globe, juxtaposing big city destruction with a local park bench. When she dances, it dances. But Vigalondo’s just getting started: this spirals into alcohol-fuelled madness and a masterclass in sheer creative writing. Without spoilers it’s difficult to explain, but plot twists keep the audience permanently on edge as they enter this mad, mad world. It all gradually makes more and more sense (if it can be called “sense”) as the tale satisfyingly expands and unravels.
Genres of science fiction and horror are thrown in with elements of thriller and comedy, but it all essentially comes down to a story of the human condition. The film is heavy on metaphors and imagery – there’s a monster in all of us, after all. Is this creature a manifestation of Gloria’s messed-up state? How do the other characters fit into this puzzle? Colossal delves into the facets of human nature through some brilliant character development and a versatile performance from Hathaway. It’s not just a battle of monsters, but also a battle on misogyny, and Hathaway leads the way with vehemence and vulnerability, packaging a punch whilst she searches for empowerment. However, it’s Mr Nice Guy Sudeikis who unexpectedly surpasses his co-star with his masterful adaptability.
Even though this movie relies on unpredictability, it’s also a formulaic tale of redemption. Not everyone will be a fan, but to best enjoy Colossal, moments of incoherence and coincidence should be overlooked in favour of embracing this epic strangeness. It’s a stomper of a film that, though small and humble in nature, will make a big impression.
Colossal is released nationwide on 19th May 2017.
Watch the trailer for Colossal here: