by Ryan Pollard
Colossal is a unique sci-fi drama like no other; not only is it one of the most original movies you’ll see this year, but it’s also unlike any monster movie you have seen before, and that is in the best possible sense. Don’t go into this movie expecting a full-on monster brawl flick, because it is way more quirky and imaginative than that, being more akin to an interpersonal character drama than a monster actioner. This is a film that pulls at the heartstrings, as well as tickles your funnybone, dealing with the subjects of alcoholism, separation, the hating of one’s self and taking back control of your own life.
A film that’ll likely divide audiences with people thinking that writer/director Nacho Vigalondo is either a genius or someone who has completely lost his mind. Being not entirely sure of what they just witnessed, but this is all to the film’s advantage as the is the kind of movie that raises questions for the audience to answer or identify with. This uses giant monsters as the backdrop to tell a much more deeper, intelligent narrative that tackles real issues including bullying, alcoholism, dealing with the stresses that can set us off in life, and how we are not always in control of our own actions or behaviour otherwise this’ll hurt other people as well as yourself.
At the centre of the drama we get a barnstorming performance from none other than Anne Hathaway , who brilliantly conveys the perfect range of emotions that makes her both likeable and at times dislikeable. Hathaway delivers a fascinating portrait of someone who’s gone off the deep end and was in need of a major wake up call, and it’s thanks to her that most of drama lands with aplomb. Special plaudits go to Jason Sudeikis as the self-loathing, controlling bully who shifts from a jolly schmuck to a downright jerk – two contrasting sides of a deeply troubled coin. As well as having a dark, character-driven comedy, Vigalondo also pulls no punches in delivering effective monster-effects, which rivals the likes of Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla, and all on a reported budget of only $15m.
As it stands, Colossal is one of the biggest surprises of the year, delivering a quirky, offbeat, character-driven drama set amidst a monster movie. This goes from funny and heartfelt to haunting and bizarre in quick transition, but it never once felt jarring or disconcerting that it becomes alienating or stale, and it’s thanks to Anne Hathaway that the drama is felt and poignant. Granted, this won’t be for everyone, but this is an original indie thrillride that is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have this year.
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Scr: Nacho Vigalondo
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson
Prd: Nahikari Ipiña, Russell Levine, Nicolas Chartier, Zev Foreman, Dominic Rustam
DOP: Eric Kress
Music: Bear McCreary
Country: Canada, Spain
Run time: 110 mins
Colossal is out now on DVD and blu-ray.