Colossal - A Review

Reviewed by Emma Sayle

Colossal, written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo and starring Anne Hathaway, is refreshingly a million miles away from much of the dull Hollywood predictability that often keeps me away from my local multiplex.

I have been a huge fan of quirky independent films forever, and having particularly enjoyed this filmmaker's previous creations, including Los Cronocrimenes (2007) and Extraterrestre (2011), I was tempted to swim to America to see it on its earlier US release date. Sadly I couldn't find my arm-bands, so had to wait until this morning.

The basic synopsis doesn't sound too far off from some of the Hollywood sausage-factory films that bore me rigid:

Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in New York City, and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realisation that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon. - IMDB

But it is Vigalondo's usual 'unusualness' that sets this film apart from mainstream mediocrity. 

The most significant quirk is a massive genre shift, that initially left me feeling that the film was a 'nutribullet-ing' together of Cloverfield with The Girl on the Train.

What first appears to be a run-of-the-mill movie about a semi-alcoholic woman being dumped by her boyfriend, without warning transforms into a full-on kaiju monster flick.

The story is delivered via a competent mix of humour, suspense and surprise - all carried by a script that is both crisp and much more authentic than many other current offerings.

The film is not without a few niggles however. Although it is a relief to see a film so many miles away from Hollywood convention, at times I found myself frustrated that it seemed to have stalled a few yards short of an alternative destination. 

The pace was a little inconsistent - some parts had me completely hooked, but in others my suspense was not about 'what' would happen next, but rather 'when'.

Occasionally the part comedy / part serious genre mix left me feeling a bit uncertain. At some points I wasn't sure if the audience was supposed to laugh or be outraged. This uncertainty may have been the maker's intention, but I have to say it restricted my enjoyment of the film.

On leaving the cinema I had several unanswered questions regarding the credibility of some of the characters' actions, which was a little frustrating. Despite these issues, the story on the whole was complete and provided a satisfying outcome.

On balance my eager anticipation of this film was rewarded, and even with the glitches it was far more worthy of nearly two hours of my life, and more enjoyable to talk about than anything else I have seen this year.

I would gladly watch ten films like Colossal than any of the formulaic rehashes that were trailered before the film began.

Go see it!

Emma x

Published at May 19, 2017

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