Colossal

Colossal-Movie-Trailer-2017-Anne-Hathaway

****

Highly original, fun, dark and even a bit scary, Colossal knows a thing or two about modern relationships, rock bottoms, the male ego and even Japanese Kaiju movies. In what may turn out to be the year’s most original film, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo and producer-star Anne Hathaway deliver a daring movie that confounds genres, and our expectations, every step of the way. And that’s a compliment. We all have monsters to deal with, Colossal says, and they are not always easy to defeat.

Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an alcoholic Gothamite and unemployed writer moonlighting as a party girl, is promptly dumped and booted from her tony Manhattan apartment by her power broker boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens).

Left with few options, she returns to her small hometown to regroup and immediately runs into her best high school friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). In too good to be true fashion, Oscar not only gives Gloria a job as the local watering hole, which he now owns, but also helps her fix up her parents’ empty home. College living at its best, a mattress and clunky old projection television do the trick.

The movie departs into the fanciful by creating link between Gloria’s nightly boozing and incredulous cable news reports of a giant, Godzilla-like creature stomping all over Seoul, Korea in a trail of nightly wreckage. What gives?

Inexplicably, Gloria seems to be controlling the beast—or not—and she soon realizes that her nightly blackouts at the local playground and 8:05am wake-ups manifest the creature, and however she moves the lizard follows suit.

Her behavior is causing wreckage, get it? Getting Oscar and offbeat buddies Garth (Tim Blake Nelson) and Joel (Austin Stowell), the small-town guy trying to catch the big city girl, to believe this fantastic development isn’t the problem. But when Oscar suddenly decides to become a participant in the mania but inserting himself into the action, things go downhill quickly. Death, destruction, media attention—what better way to feed a passive-aggressive, fragile male ego? It’s reality TV stardom on a whole other level.

The second half of Colossal ventures into some very dark territory, and Sudeikis, most often in comedic roles, gets a plum juicy dramatic turn that he takes off the rails so effectively that he almost steals the picture from his costar.  Hathaway, always liberated by offbeat comic characters and with her own special timing and sense of humor, is terrific.

Vigalondo smartly makes us believe we’re enjoying a craftily comedic riff on B-movies, and then goes in for the good stuff as Gloria overcomes her demons and Oscar goes down a rabbit hole of toxic male rage.

Colossal doesn’t pull punches in its climax, featuring a terrific climatic sequence in Seoul that pulls the picture together beautifully. There’s also a shot where Hathaway lies on the ground, foot depressions in the grass before her, that is really inspired.

You can go home again, you can pull your head out and you can save the planet in the process. All doable.

Highly recommended.

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