Little budget, colossal movie. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.
Colossal (2017) is a dramedy sci-fi monster movie written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo. It stars Anne Hathaway as Gloria, a self-destructing woman who is forced to leave her life in New York and return to her hometown after a falling out with her boyfriend (Dan Stevens). But after meeting up with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), strange things begin to happen at the exact same time that a massive monster appears to destroy Seoul.
If the general description didn’t clue you in, this is a weird and very unique mesh of genres that manages to carve out a niche all on its own. The less you know going into this film the better, but lets just say Colossal takes an innovative and wonderfully weird approach to the classic monster movie – on an impressively small budget no less. To those who want their sci-fi to be grounded and explained, this is not the movie for you, but for everyone else who can accept the inconceivable this is a great idea executed really well.
The two lead performances are well and truly worth noting as well. Anne Hathaway has a solid turn as Gloria, showing a level of grounded goofiness and pathos that rivals her performance in The Devil Wears Prada. But the real surprise here is Jason Sudeikis. Mostly known for his comedic performances, there’s elements of his previous work in here, but Colossal represents a surprisingly – and impressively – dramatic twist on his persona. His character’s development does suffer with a decision that seems to come out of nowhere, but Oscar still has plenty of emotional baggage that Sudeikis digs into with utter relish. Its a fantastic dramatic turn for the actor and I hope its a side we get to see plenty more of in the future. A number of additional cast members like Dan Stevens and Tim Blake Nelson also make a decent impression, but the focus is squarely on this lead duo.
Speaking of subtext to delve into, Colossal has that on a monstrous level. The film manages to delve into interesting commentary on everything from alcoholism to social control, and the mix of genres manages to conjure up some seriously interesting metaphors to chew on. That being said, there is a few occasions that the film values themes over plot, which weakens the overall story and especially the ending. Its fine for a film to work with subtext, but story should always come first as a strong foundation. That way everything else can be built on top and unfortunately Colossal‘s foundation is compromised in a way that limits the movie’s impact.
That being said, these moments aren’t enough to collapse a whole entertaining and unique movie. Lovers of anything unconventional, or just people who like a bit of something to chew on long after the film has ended should definitely feast your eyes upon Colossal.
General Audiences: Recommended
Film Buffs: Highly Recommended
Cultists: Highly Recommended