Doug Reviews: Colossal (2016)

Writer-Director Nacho Vigalondo’s latest, Colossal, is a strange, funny, and dark film that will stick with you long after you’ve left the theater.

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a writer and party girl, who is out of work and out on her ass as her boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens) has finally tired of her antics. She returns to her hometown, seeking refuge in her empty childhood home. One day, she runs across an old classmate of hers, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who now owns his father’s bar. He offers to help Gloria out with some furniture and a part-time job at the bar. As Gloria tries to get her act together, a large kaiju monster begins appearing in Seoul, South Korea periodically. Slowly, Gloria realizes that she’s connected to this monster somehow and she tries to figure out why and what that means for her life. Meanwhile, as Gloria tries to understand more about her connection to the monster, her relationship with Oscar begins to evolve and take a dark turn.

I don’t want to spoil anything with this film, but just know that it is a very original piece of work. The sci-fi aspects are inventive and humorous. That humor also is a common thread throughout the film until there is a drastic tone shift about halfway through the film. That shift feels very disorienting, but when you consider that Gloria’s problems center around alcoholism and how it is destroying her life, it shows that the more comedic parts of the film may be more out of place. However, do not take this warning lightly: this film gets dark.

Hathaway and Sudeikis are great in their roles here. Hathaway is a consummate performer, no matter what the general attitude is about her at any given time. This lady can act and is equally adept at handling the comedy as well as the drama. I was thoroughly impressed with Sudeikis’ handling of the more dramatic aspects of the film as well. I knew, of course, that the comedy would be no problem for him, but he is frighteningly convincing as Oscar’s arc takes him to darker and darker places. Stevens seems to be popping up all over the place lately and he does a good job here. Even though his character is in the right when it comes to Gloria and her situation, he still manages to come off as a complete jerk. That’s not a reflection on Stevens himself, but just evidence that he can pull these types of roles off well. Tim Blake Nelson also gives a nice performance as one of Oscar’s drinking buddies.

Overall, Colossal will not be for everyone, but if you like films with original concepts and ones that attempt to mix comedy and drama, you should definitely check it out.

 

Rating: B+

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