Film Review: Colossal


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You know that feeling when your personal issues manifest into a giant monster that terrorises an entire city? No? Well, Anne Hathaway’s character in Colossal sure does. A film which sees director Nacho Vigalondo create an enticing premise which allows this film to stand out from the tiresome remakes or repetitive clichés flooding the market.

Watching the trailer for Colossal, you could be forgiven for mistaking this film as nothing more than another weird indie comedy, but in fact this film demonstrates heart and explores insecurity and imperfection in a remarkably tentative manner. Issues of alcoholism and self-destruction drive characters, with the unusual premise of the film allowing a unique method for exploring the consequences and rippling damage of selfish actions. For a film about a giant monster attacking the South Korean city of Seoul, it seemed strangely real.

The threat of monster attacks gave Colossal an intriguing instrument to drive the story forwards, allowing the film to avoid falling victim to common critique for indie films lacking interesting plot. Anne Hathaway’s character is yet another, and this time rather literal, example of the modern and increasingly common trope of “walking disaster”. This trope can often be infuriating to watch, forcing audiences to give up caring. However, in Colossal, Hathaway’s character succeeds in being likable and self-aware, which is enough to keep you rooting for her.

Despite the film’s successes, it’s not without fault. Some character’s intentions and personalities seem to flip rather suddenly which left an otherwise realistic character exploration jarring. There is also the problem of the elephant in the room (or rather, monster in Seoul) – how to explain this bewildering concept into an otherwise “normal” world portrayal? I feel this part of the film was unnecessary, and would have preferred the film simply committed to the unexplained bizarreness.

Ultimately, Colossal was an emotional film demonstrating that adapting your life to face your personal demons can help separate you from the destructive monster within. An entertaining ride with some solid acting performances, it’s a film that can keep you on the edge of your seat while still bringing the heart of a good indie drama.

This film will be screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre from the 19th to the 28th of May, tickets are available here: http://glasgowfilm.org/shows/colossal-15

The GFT also offers a free 15-25 discount card for students, available here: http://glasgowfilm.org/plan-your-visit/memberships/15-25-card

[Michaela Barton  @lowkeypigeon]

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