Horror/Sci-Fi/Comedy/Drama… Colossal is a genre-bending thrill that combines romance, monsters, international incident and comedy. What’s not to love?It’s hard to say too much about Colossal’s plot without giving away details that hold the key to Nacho Vigalondo’s unusual, memorable and innovative movie. So, here’s what I think I can get away with without spoiling too much: Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a snarky alcoholic; Jason Sudeikis is her childhood friend Oscar; and the two of them have some connection to a rampaging monster attacking Seoul.While that (hopefully) doesn’t give too much away, it does give some sense of the uniqueness of the film. The only recent release I can think of to compare Colossal to is Get Out – in so much as Vigalondo subverts genre conventions in unexpected ways, much like Jordan Peele did in 2017’s breakout hit. Colossal blends horror, sci-fi, monster-epic, comedy, drama and psychological thriller into an unexpected mix that strangely works.
Even though there’s a whole bunch of genres within this film, it’s not really a case of “something for everyone”. Colossal will be appreciated by a fairly niche audience, you know, those of us who were dying to watch a monster-romantic comedy-destruction fest-sci-fi flick.
Hathaway is on top form as Gloria, who’s smart and funny but also a constant screw-up. A world away from The Princess Diaries and Les Miserables, the role brings Hathaway’s turns in The Dark Knight Rises and Rachel Getting Married to mind. Sudeikis gets a rare chance to show a different side to himself too – Oscar seems like the affable, loveable, hometown good guy at first, but it soon emerges there’s more to him than meets the eye.
The first portion of the movie gives little away as to what’s to transpire – as Gloria returns to her hometown and reconnects with her roots, Colossal seems like it’s pretty steady on the romantic-comedy/coming-of-age path. Then the film takes a big – colossal, even – shift, and there’s a realisation that’s absurd, ridiculous, hilarious but also very compelling. To say anymore would be to give away the conceit of the film, but it’s definitely one that deserves to be seen.
The film will appeal to niche audiences looking for a monster-rom-com-sci-fi flick
There are elements of the plot that push the limits of believability, for sure. And the mash-up of genres is so unexpected that it can feel disorientating and confusing at times, but ultimately Colossal is so clever and original that it’s surely one of the most interesting films of the year. Both Hathaway and Sudeikis do some of the most complex work of their respective careers, and Vigalondo’s script is packed with metaphors, double-meanings and clever twists.
Come for the intrigue, stay for the beasts tearing up South Korea – Colossal is a monster of a movie that’s packed with originality. On the surface the film seems like one thing, but Vigalondo is challenging viewers to look closer, and for a film about alcoholism, monsters and sci-fi to actually be a subversive thriller about personality, thought, psychology and fear really is gigantic, gargantuan, spectacular and… well, colossal.
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