Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo, 2017) is a film that embraces its weirdness, and knows exactly what it wants without getting tangled in the loops of confusion, offering the audience a very smart and original approach to contemporary filmmaking.
Whenever Gloria (Anne Hathaway) gets drunk, a monster attacks Seoul, South Korea — perhaps, the most random, peculiar pitch to summarize the film. Colossal works primarily because of its originality. It’s Godzilla in a socially satirical existentialist world, with thoughtful, generously written characters taking you on a ride of bizarre conquests. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is. Yes, the film doesn’t have any grand twists or shocking spoilers: it is literally what it says it is: a very random concept that somehow works because its intelligent blueprint, meticulously conceptualized by visionary director Nacho Vigalondo, who perhaps is the film’s true breakthrough.
Vigalondo’s direction is so assertive and quirky, with elements of the crazy beautiful world of Gregg Araki and some of Charlie Kaufman’s bizarre existential textures, whilst maintaining a concrete and tangible narrative of characters who are still humane amidst the strangeness of their surroundings. How they are developed with such realism is why we hold on to their stories, as we find ourselves rooting for the hero and against the villain without pretentious concepts of all-abstract pastiche.
Basically, anything where Anne Hathaway’s in turns to be a delightful feast. Her wide-eyed presence, joyous spirit and luminous humor makes her portrayal of Gloria a standalone feature of the film. Colossal isn’t just about the concept; it’s about Hathaway’s performance, too. Her skill for physical comedy is highlighted in a film where terror and chaos serve as a backdrop, creating a beautiful contrast and intelligent balance of substance and aesthetics.
Kudos to Jason Sudeikis for a very mad performance as Oscar, whose character is written to put the spotlight to that of Hathaway’s, but is crazy good enough for him to carry the film in the darker light it projects.
Although there are definitely moments where the editing is a bit dragging and the storytelling quite unnecessarily long, Hathaway and Sudeikis make it worth the ride, stirring curiosity, making you want to get to the bottom of it all — in a good way, that is.
Overall, it’s a film of such strange nature with elements of black comedy, psychodrama, suspense and thriller, set in a mad world with rich, smart characters. Maybe, it will not hit everyone the same way, but if you embrace Vigolondo’s other worldly craziness the way he does, the pleasure of witnessing a one-of-a-kind movie is non-stop. The film, at least, deserves a recognition for Best Original Screenplay as the year ends. Definitely, one of the most original movies I have ever seen.