This might be one of the shortest reviews I’m EVER going to give so if you need the short version: one of the best films of the year, highly inventive and brilliantly subversive. It’s a great dramatic comedy combined with a Kaiju film that’s better than most in both genres.
Colossal is one of those rare films that falls into a common category of “The less you know, the better” (Under the Skin, Ex Machina, Arrival, A Cure for Wellness, The Neon Demon) and is rare in that’s it’s not really a twist that’s worth keeping secret: it’s the emotional depth. So I’m going to give one of my shortest reviews.
Anne Hathaway playss an online journalist who moved to New York from a small town and her self destructive drinking causes her uptight boyfriend to kick her out, so she retreats home where she rekindles her friendship with an old friend played by Jason Sudeikis. Then suddenly a giant monster attack Seoul in South Korea and she discovers she has a unique connection to this monster.
And that’s all I’m gonna say on plot specifics. You shouldn’t need more: you should just go an watch it. All you need to know is that the story develops in a strong and emotionally crushing way that made my jaw drop. It’s a story about self destruction and how that can be destructive, but instead of it going in the lame hipster fashion this film easily could fall in: it goes smarter. The story feels akin to films like Arrival wherein every piece so perfectly fits to both reward and subvert expectations…but is better than Arrival in a “Show don’t Tell” grand moment while Arrival preferred to give us exposition.
The performances are great: Annie Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises) plays against type as someone whose always not in control and is like a ticking time bomb of self destructive tendencies while being funny and compelling. Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, We’re the Millers) plays seemingly his comedic persona and then goes into a dark place that makes me love him more as an actor. Even smaller roles like Dan Stevens (The Guest, Beauty and the Beast) or Tim Blake Nelson (Minority Report, The Incredible Hulk) are brilliant. The film’s performances, stories and emotions are so strong they can create fight scenes that are funnier than bigger comedies and more intense than more standard action films.
That’s Colossal’s big win: creating genuine emotion and heart instead of hipster nihilism and cynicism that usually comes with this type of film. It also helps that instead of incompressible and terrible handheld Mumblecore direction that usually pairs with indie genre fair: there’s actual cinematography and direction. This is the biggest film by Nacho Vigalondo and it’s easily his best: in both direction and screenplay despite spottier efforts prior. It’s virtually transcendent in it’s efforts. And everything else from the score, editing, production design and effects (mass praise to the effects team) works so well that this movie is almost flawless.
I literally can’t think of any other problems with this film and I just encourage you to see it. Its got enough for everyone that you’ll love it and I think ya’ll should see it because it’s just that good. Don’t miss this.