‘Colossal’

Your average ‘black comedy/alcoholism drama/giant monster avatar movie’ hybrid.

Days of wine and roses, and giant monsters
Days of wine and roses, and giant monsters

I have nothing but praise for Colossal’s writer-director Nacho Vigalondo, just in terms of the conceptual brainwaves that went into making this film. You take a black comedy about a train wreck (an actual boozed up train wreck, as opposed to the non-committal trainwreck-lite as portrayed by Amy Schumer) at a low ebb, returning to her small hometown, dealing with alcoholism, rejection and her place in the world, and inadvertently setting off a giant reptilian Kaiju in Seoul in the process. As you do.

It works not only as a comedy, as a monster movie, as something so perfectly ‘high concept’ (as rage, or id manifesting itself on the other side of the planet), but its true visionary status comes from it being these generic hybrids woven into a perfectly executed allegory for domestic violence, emotional abuse and men’s violence against women. What hits you hardest is that it just comes as if from nowhere.

Colossal’s powerful, brilliantly constructed subtext is framed around how domestic abuse works, how manipulation works, and the motivations behind it – as well as the drivers for its victims. And Vigalondo’s use of the Godzilla-like monster trope to frame his story in a different way is so out of left field to be gobsmacking.

Anne Hathaway is great, because that’s pretty much what Anne Hathaway does. I was never on board with those who suddenly decided they didn’t like her based on how she accepted a trophy once. Or whatever it was. She’s great in this, like she’s great in most comedies she does, great on SNL, was great in Les Miserables. In Colossal, she blends comedy and drama seamlessly – the absurdity of the premise is belied by the conviction with which she performs.

Jason Sudekis, too. Here’s a guy who’s droll onscreen personas sprung from his multi-season stint on SNL, and then in a series of broader film comedies. In Colossal, his role starts as the wisecracking friend, but as the narrative unfolds, his part – and his performance – finds new, unexpected depths. Sudekis’ line deliveries and performance remains very much of type, but as constructed by Nacho Vigalondo, its broader, deeper, and a whole mess more sinister.

This is very much a left field, left-of-centre piece; a generic hybrid like you’ve not seen done as well before. It strikes a perfect balance in its execution and is an important cultural product befitting the zeitgeist. Great, great piece of work.