Fantastic Fest 2016/SXSW 2017 Review: COLOSSAL

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

I first watched this truly unique and amazing film at Fantastic Fest last year, and when I heard that it would play SXSW 2017, I just had to make time to watch it again.  Leave it to bold and brilliant filmmaker Nacho Vigalando (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial) to take the Japanese kaiju concept, hybridize it with comedy, and make it all an allegorical story about alcoholism, personal responsibility, and emotional toxicity.  With superb writing, exceptional direction and outstanding performances by Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, Colossal is definitely one of the best films of 2017. 

Anne Hathaway stars as Gloria, a recently unemployed writer completely lost and aimless in life with a worsening drinking problem.  Gloria’s boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) has had enough of Gloria’s erratic and destructive behavior and ends their relationship, which leaves her both homeless and jobless.  Gloria decides to move back to her hometown and temporarily move into her late parents’ old home.  Not long after arriving back in town, Gloria runs into an old high school friend named Oscar who runs a local tavern there.  The two reconnect over drinks and have a fun night catching up.  Though the night seemed harmless enough, Gloria discovers the next day that a massive strange creature attacked Seoul, Korea.  The monster continues to make random appearances in the days ahead and as Gloria and the world continue to monitor its attacks, she soon realizes that she and the creature are connected somehow.

Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal is one of the most inventive comedies I have seen in recent years.  Vigalondo not only has made a thoroughly entertaining film with witty comedy, it is also a movie with absorbing drama, superbly developed characters and genuine, heartfelt messages about alcoholism and toxic machismo.  The experience is giddy, powerful, and overall amazing.  This film is definitely a courageous film for Vigalando, and it makes me happy that it works so well.  I am also thrilled that he was able to cast two big Hollywood names to help get the attention the movie deserves.

Both Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis fully commit to the premise of the movie and their roles and this also helps the film work on a credible level.  Anne Hathaway delivers a wonderful turn as Gloria, a woman with much wit and charm, but also someone struggling with inner demons and trying to do what is right for herself and the people affected by her behavior.  Sudeikis gives a much more surprising turn as Oscar, a seemingly down-to-earth, regular guy, but one with issues of his own.  The movie also features great supporting work by Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Stevens, and Austin Stowell.

So it was with great pleasure that I was able to enjoy this remarkable movie at two different film festivals and I would not have any trouble whatsoever paying to see it more times theatrically–especially, if I can get some friends or family to join me.  I absolutely love this movie and highly recommend it to all of my adult readers and hope those who enjoy it will help spread the word.  This strange and brilliant independent film is in danger of getting overlooked which would be an utter travesty.  Movies this innovative don’t get made often, and some financial reinforcement at the box office will definitely help ensure that they do.

Colossal has been currently playing in some theaters and opens in Austin on  Thursday, April 13, 2017.

 

 

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