by Alejandro Turdó
If you happened to casually catch any of the trailers for Colossal (2016), you probably thought it was much closer to an absurd comedy mashup than a deep drama with some monsters on the side. Think again, because the wonderful minds behind its marketing campaign definitively got it all backwards. Nacho Vigalondo’s new feature draws as far away as possible from your typical monster movie, delivering a story that focuses on failing relationships, substance abuse and social satire.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) goes back to her home town after her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) kicks her out for being basically out of work and drunk 24/7. Upon returning to her parents’ empty house Gloria reconnects with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), her elementary school classmate, who offers to give her a hand out by working as a waitress in his semi-rundown bar. Meanwhile on the other side of the world -literally- Koreans are on the edge of despair because of a giant Godzilla-like monster that comes and goes sporadically, threatening the entire population and hitting the news worldwide. Things take a turn for the bizarre when Gloria discovers a certain connection with the monster, being able to control it if she gets to a certain place at a certaing time daily.
But the main core of this story has nothing to do with monsters and destruction, at least no that kind of “buildings fallings and people running around” destruction. Writer/director Vigalondo focuses on self-destructing characters, toxic relationships and the search for self empowerment. In true Vigalondo style, what you see is not even close to what you get. All the monster paraphernalia is just the backdrop, the standing ground for a much deeper and character-driven conflict.
Speaking of characters, Hathaway’s Gloria carries the weight of the conflict over her shoulders, displaying a superb transformation through the course of the film that sets the tone for the drama. Sudeikis’ performance is algo top notch, giving him an unsual chance to explore a much more deep and darker character than the one he usually portrays.
Perhaps the odd overall tone and what feels like a bit of a rushed third act will keep it from being everyone’s favorite. But being the niche movie that ends up being, Colossal should be extremely proud of the end result.
Alejandro Turdó / Writer (CABA, Argentina – 1982) Ale got his degree in Image & Sound Design at Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) and is also a Technician in Audiovisual Post-Production. For year’s he’s been a critic for EscribiendoCine and A Sala Llena, a certified Rotten Tomatoes critic and a Redactor of Digital Content. He talks film at http://www.radioborder.tv.