“Colossal” melds Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis with giant monsters

While the big budget Hollywood features struggle to come up with creative original ideas, independent cinema is more than picking up the slack. With the release this week of Colossal, something very unique is hitting screens. It mixes indie sensibilities with some elements of gigantic blockbusters. Weird, right? Well, that doesn’t even begin to describe this one, which has a second half that’s downright bonkers, including a third act you’ll never see coming. There are flaws, including a running time padded by at least 15 minutes, but they don’t shield you from the ambition on display. I can guarantee that you won’t see anything else like Colossal this year, that is for sure.

This flick is one with a premise that doesn’t do it justice. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an alcoholic party girl just sort of going through a lot. Her drinking has led her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) to kick her out of their Manhattan apartment, so she heads home to suburbia, where her parents’ old house is. Setting up shop there, she runs into childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who offers her a job at his bar. Initially, this all seems fine, but then Gloria realizes that her drunken ways are literally damaging the world. From there, things get really weird. I’m being vague on purpose, but trust me that it’s very unique. The DNA here is as much Godzilla as it is Rachel Getting Married. Let that marinate in your head for a minute. Nacho Vigalondo writes and directs, while the rest of the cast includes Tim Blake Nelson, Hannah Cheramy, Nathan Ellison, Austin Stowell, and more. Bear McCreary handles the score, while the cinematography is courtesy of Eric Kress.

The sheer hutzpah it took to mount this is what impressed me most about the picture. That, and Hathaway’s complex lead turn. Sudeikis is very good too, doing something a lot different than usual, but this is her show. She gets to play around in a big way. Hathaway is able to go comedic, dramatic, and even engage in something resembling elements of an action hero. In a way, it’s all of her best roles put together. The film itself doesn’t catch up to her, but the ambition by Vigalondo helps to leave a positive taste in your mouth. This movie could have been amazing, and the acting is, but it overall just settles for being good instead. Not a huge issue, but the acting and idea itself stand tall above the rest.

Here is how I would rank Hathaway’s ten best performances to date:

10. One Day
9. Brokeback Mountain
8. The Dark Knight Rises
7. Song One
6. Colossal
5. The Devil Wears Prada
4. Interstellar
3. Les Miserables
2. Love and Other Drugs
1. Rachel Getting Married

Here also is how I would rank the best of Sudeikis so far:

10. Horrible Bosses 2
9. We’re the Millers
8. The Campaign
7. The Book of Love
6. Race
5. Horrible Bosses
4. Colossal
3. Going the Distance
2. Tumbledown
1. Sleeping with Other People

In just a few days, audiences can see this odd little bird for themselves when Colossal comes out. To be sure, it’s not for everyone, but if you’re intrigued by the premise, it’s definitely worth looking into. Obviously, if you’re a fan of Hathaway, this is a must see, to say the least. The same goes for Sudeikis, who is giving you something very different here than usual. I don’t want to spoil where it goes, but he’s not your generic romantic co-lead. There’s more to it than that. A lot more. That sums up Colossal well, actually. Give it a shot and see what you think…

Be sure to check out Colossal, starting its theatrical run in limited release on Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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