April 20, 2017

GENRE | Anne Hathaway Meets Monster – 'Colossal'

Anne Hathaway Jason Sudeikis Nacho Vigalondo | Colossal

Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo gets very weird in his (filmed in Vancouver) sci-fi comedy meets alcoholism drama with monsters, ColossalAnne Hathaway plays Gloria, a loser alcoholic who gets dumped and moves back home, grappling with her demons in comic fashion while realizing she's somehow responsible for manifesting a giant kaiju monster destroying the city of Seoul, South Korea all the way across the world.

Colossal acts as an obvious yet amusing allegory for the unintended and horrifying destruction of addiction and alcoholism. Jason Sudeikis also offers a really nice turn as Gloria's childhood friend who she reconnects with, but his arc slowly gets more and more complex as his motivations become confusing and hazy. He acts as an enabler by virtue of his alcoholism masked by owning a dive bar which he unwisely employs her at as a waitress. Their toxic but endearing friendship grounds the surreal  and silly elements of the film while grounding the effective moments of character emotions.

Dan Stevens plays Gloria's fed up ex-boyfriend who has had enough of her antics and kicks her out. He proves a nice foil and his scenes with Hathaway alongside Sudeikis offer a bizarre doppelgänger look at the two opposing handsome men sort of playing alternate mirror versions of each other while echoing elements of toxic masculinity and abusive relationships. Hathaway's comedic but still horrified performance is outstanding in its emotional flexibility and chemistry with others.

Most of the film's magic lies in the first half featuring Hathaway's charmingly destructive drunken antics while her and her cohorts slowly discover the crazy happenstance of her monstrous behaviour as they literally and metaphorically sober up. After that, an offbeat, diabolical plot and slow reveal slowly sink the more pleasing elements already established. Colossal then over aggressively becomes a full-on monster flick—complete with cheesy special effects and running Asian pedestrians—and horror piece it never truly wants to be.

Vigalondo amusingly explores the monstrousness of humanity while balancing funny and genuine performances from his actors using clever yet muddled genre shifts. Colossal is ultimately a pleasant riff on monster movie tropes using themes of substance abuse to explore self-loathing and destructive human behaviour. It just never quite combines its fun comedic elements with the more frightening aspects of the dramatic monster mystery.

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