Fantastic Fest 2016 Movie Review: COLOSSAL
Director/Writer: Nacho Vigalondo.
Actors: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, and Dan Stevens.
Alcoholism and addiction is devastating both for the person going through this disease and the people around them. And in director Nacho Vigalondo’s new movie, COLOSSAL, the devastation is very literal in the form a Godzilla-esque creature.
Anne Hathaway’s Gloria is a hot mess. In the first five minutes, she rolls up to her boyfriend Tim’s (Stevens) place, make ups the world’s worst excuse for being out all night, gets dumped, and subsequently lets in a group of her pals to drink…early in the morning.
Licking her wounds, she moves back to her parent’s place in upstate New York. Feeling obviously down on her self, she tries to start a smaller but more modest life for herself in this new environment when she runs into an old school friend, Oscar (Sudekis), who never left town.
After a night on a bender, Gloria wakes up to news that a giant monster materialized out of nowhere and wrecked part of Seoul, South Korea. After some hilarious guesswork, we come to that not only is the monster somehow Gloria, but that there’s a giant robot that appears to be connected to Oscar.
As she tries to piece her life back together, Gloria has to confront her issues and figure out why she can make a kaiju appear out of nowhere, and how to make it stop killing people. What follows is a funny, awkward, and intense film about overcoming addictions.
With the kaiju being the physical manifestation of the destructive power of addiction, they serve as a powerful metaphor, and it makes the movie outlandishly grand into something very personal. It’s brilliant.
Anne Hathaway turns in an awesome performance as a slowly evolving character; she’s goofy, pathetic, and a bit of a jerk sometimes but it all rings true. Her shame and guilt over her actions which she may or may not remember, is palpable and instantly relatable.
But honestly? The biggest surprise of the movie was Jason Sudeikis, who is actually a freaky scary antagonist. His character is such a broken man and it’s not immediately apparent which makes him more dangerous. He’s a self-loathing enabler and very poisonous to be around.
The movie carries a light tone which may appear to be insensitive especially when dealing with alcoholism, but in truth, it’s needed. The subject matter despite its sci-fi angle is very dark and unpleasant. That balance is tricky to pull off, and Vigalondo handles it well.
This has a been a strange year at Fantastic Fest where the big name movies are the ones make a splash. COLOSSAL can be counted among those. It has a unique premise with surprising performances by all of the actors. It’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, it’s awkward and intense and the director’s finest work.