It was only a matter of time until writer/director Nacho Vigalondo would try to top his sci-fi thriller, TIMECRIMES... and he may just have succeeded with COLOSSAL, a fun disaster film-turned superhero story.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a wreck. She's broke and without a job, her partying has caused her to become practically nocturnal, and she is the very definition of alcoholic. When her boyfriend kicks her out of their apartment in New York, she returns to her hometown in the middle of nowhere to scrape by in her childhood home, which her parents have left completely empty after moving. Here, she meets childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who whiles away the time as the sole employee of his departed dad's old bar, and jumps at the exciting opportunity of a flash from the past. But something strange is afoot. After a drunken night that stretched into the morning hours, Gloria sees on the news that a giant creature has appeared in Seoul, Korea, killing those in its path as it traipsed across the city. The creature appeared once, 25 years earlier --and it seems to be back, appearing every morning at 8:05 exactly, then disappearing into thin air. And Gloria seems to have a strange connection with the mysterious beast...
Hathaway and Sudeikis give strong performances, though it is the characters themselves that shine above anything else: the irresponsible, escapist Gloria that we meet in the beginning of the film gets a hell of a reality check with this kismet experience, and Oscar stoops to desolate levels of manipulation. Putting aside the physical presence of a monster traipsing across cityscapes, this is really a closer look at interpersonal relationships gone awry: what we are really watching is the story of an unwilling and uncertain hero rising from the rubble of alcoholism -- and an antagonist from the pits of self-despair and envy.
Vigalondo offers a nice balance of character development and thrilling heroics in COLOSSAL. Now playing at Midtown Cinema, starting 5/19!