Review: ‘Colossal’ Is Weird But If You Can Groove On It You’ll Like It
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Summary: Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in NY and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realization that she is part of this phenomenon.
One of the best parts about the nerd takeover of Hollywood is that genre movies are being used as vessels to tell complex stories that were usually delegated to slow moving Oscar bait. The idea that we can tackle things like the concept of racism through aliens in District 9. Now we have a movie like Colossal using the idea of the giant monster to tackle a complex issues like alcoholism and addiction with giant monsters. This was a Sundance Film Festival pick of 2017 and one of the movies I personally got the opportunity to cover during the festival. Now the movie is getting a wide release so it’s time to take a look at this movie again.
Colossal is a weird look at addiction but if you can wrap your head around the concept there is a deep metaphor here that is fascinating to watch.
Our story follows an alcoholic writer named Gloria (Anne Hathaway) who has bottomed out. She has been kicked out of her New York City apartment by her boyfriend and is forced to go back to the small town she left behind so many years ago. She falls back into bad habits when she meets up with her friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). However, Gloria doesn’t really have time to deal with all of that when a giant monster Seoul, South Korea. To remain vague Gloria has connected to this monster in various ways that become frighteningly apparent. Gloria stumbles through a particular park, usually drunk, and she becomes the monster that attacks and kills people. The metaphor is not subtle at all, the destruction of her addiction reaches effects far more than just her, but to get into the various ways the movie goes completely off the walls would be a spoiler but rest assured you don’t want to know going in.
There are a few things that might keep people from liking Colossal. It has a tone that can be a little strange to follow at times and it can also get extremely dark by the end in ways that are surprising. The juxtaposition of these two tones can be a bit much at times but if you’re willing to grove on the pace that this movie is setting then it’s fun to watch. It’s funny, depressing, and a little horrifying all at the same time. The chaotic nature feels true to a story about a woman that is, essentially, out of control. The tone matches the character but that doesn’t mean it is always the best way to tell a story.
That being said the things that make this movie worth checking out it is the performances. This is the best Anne Hathaway has been in years. Gloria is a hard person to watch as she see her make bad decision after bad decision. However, she also gives real honesty to the character that will hit particularly hard for anyone who has had a person in their life struggle with addiction. It’s a rather manic performance but in the way that feels like she talked to a lot of people to know how they acted when they were bottoming out. Sudeikis, who is most known for his comedic roles, takes on a completely different person. A character that appears to be the small town burnout reveals something so much darker by the end in a subtle and nuance way.
Colossal is not going to be a movie for everyone but for an interesting perspective on a problem that effects millions of people it is about as good as you can get. The issues that bog it down are minor and while it isn’t perfect it is absolutely worth checking out.