I remember when I first saw a trailer for Colossal, it struck me as something that looked fresh and different. So I very naturally became rather interested in seeing it.
The film follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway) a struggling alcoholic, who returns back to her hometown after her boyfriend leaves her. When news surfaces about a Kaiju creature destroying South Korea, she comes to the realisation that she is somehow connected to the creature.
First and foremost this film is wholly original, it’s refreshing to see a film attempting to provide audiences with something new that they haven’t seen before narrative wise. The concept is an intriguing one, I can’t delve too much into why because of spoilers but as things began to unfold, I found myself increasingly interested to discover the reason behind everything that was occurring on screen. If the execution was as strong as the concept, then we would have an excellent film. Unfortunately whilst the fresh concept and exploration of alcoholism and self control is present in the script, the execution of it all holds the film back from greatness.
The film was rather slow to get going, the first act can feel like a bit of a drag as all the pieces are being put in place to set up the bigger aspects of the story. One thing I can’t criticise are the performances, Anne Hathaway accurately portrayed an alcoholic whose life is spiralling out of control. As the film progresses forward, she handles the arc that is written for her character very well. The growth and transition of her character is believable. This is one of the better performances I’ve seen from Jason Sudeikis in a while, he portrays Gloria’s childhood friend, Oscar. There’s a lot more under the surface of his character as the story moves forward, and whilst I do have some questions and issues with his character’s journey throughout the film, it was never due to Jason’s portrayal of the character. He brought an adequate amount of drama and depth to the role.
I felt the metaphorical aspects of the film worked really well, a lot of the events in the film tie up nicely with the key theme of alcoholism and the damaging effects it can have on someone’s life. The moments involving the creature were both entertaining and intriguing as you are left trying to uncover the purpose of it all. I would say the pay off for everything is satisfactory, especially after you give it some thought once the credits have rolled. The closing act of the film was very enthralling. I rarely say this but I really like the final thirty seconds of the film too, I thought it cut to credits at the exact right moment.
The direction for the most part was good, the film was well shot. Cinematography was very crisp and clean. The visual effects were particularly impressive considering the film only had a small budget of $15 million.
The biggest thing that let this film down, links back into what I said earlier about the execution of the ideas and themes. Whilst the dramatic elements are necessary for key aspects of the story, I just found a lot of those scenes to be rather dull. Instead of the moments of drama being short, sweet and straight to the point, with what was needed to develop the characters in the right direction, the film actually ended up meandering for too long during a lot of those moments. The pacing definitely could’ve been a lot tighter and if it had been, and if those dialogue heavy scenes were a less dull, then the film would’ve earned itself an extra star on my final rating.
Colossal is a wholly original story, that mixes the drama of a girl battling alcoholism, and ties it in with the events of a monster rampaging through South Korea. The performances are strong and the metaphorical aspects shine, but uneven pacing and frequently dull drama lets down what would otherwise be a great film.
(3 Stars out of 5)
Colossal; Starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, and Tim Blake Nelson.
Directed by Nacho Vigalondo. Now showing in UK and US Cinemas.