Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 31 March 2020

Film review: Inner demons come to life in quirky film Colossal

Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis star a in delightfully quirky collision of indie romance and Japanese monster movie destruction.
Jason Sudeikis and Anne Hathaway in Colossal. Neon via AP Photo
Jason Sudeikis and Anne Hathaway in Colossal. Neon via AP Photo

Colossal

Director: Nacho Vigalondo

Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens

Four stars

There’s a lot of truth to the saying that some people can turn into monsters when they have too much to drink.

In Colossal, however, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an unemployed, self-pitying, barely-functioning alcoholic writer, takes things to the extreme when she returns to her small-town roots after her long suffering boyfriend (Dan Stevens) kicks her out of his New York apartment.

She reconnects with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who – unfortunately, given the circumstances – now owns a bar and is himself prone to overindulging.

Then things take a turn for the strange. The set-up seems like the start of a typical bittersweet indie-romcom, or maybe a drama about the dangers of addiction.

But the inner demons unleashed here are literal, not metaphorical, as Gloria discovers she has an unusual ability: each time she blacks out in a local playpark after a night out, a giant, Godzilla-like monster is unleashed on the city of Seoul, leaving destruction in its wake.

Before she returned to her hometown, the monster had only been seen once – when Gloria still lived there with her parents.

While she slowly learns more about her unusual affliction, the initially-supportive Oscar becomes increasingly needy, ultimately unleashing his own not-so-inner monster, as the pair’s neuroses and failings are brought to life in a monstrous fashion that threatens the terrified citizens of a city thousands of miles away.

It is a clever and brilliantly quirky premise for a film, and although it does sometimes feel like director Nacho Vigalondo might be making it up as he goes along – lurching from genre to genre and improbable situation to even more improbable situation – it never feels disjointed.

This is helped by a script heavy on black humour, plus solid performances from the leads. Hathaway is an eminently likeable train wreck, while Sudeikis in particular impresses as he pivots from solid and stable childhood friend to self-obsessed egomaniac.

The characters’ monsters are here, but the film is a darkly-comic metaphor for the dangers of alcohol abuse, the effects our insecurities and personality flaws can have on those closest to us, and the dangers of our inner demons.

The premise sounds ridiculous, but by the time the credits roll, you will wonder why no one thought to make an indie-romcom/Japanese Kaiju movie mash-up before – and be grateful Vigalondo finally did.​

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Updated: May 17, 2017 04:00 AM

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