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'Colossal' TIFF 2016 Review: A monstrously satisfying mash-up of kaiju chaos and indie filmmaking

September 16, 2016Ben MK

Filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo has never been one to shy away from experimentation. From his 2007 debut feature, Timecrimes, to 2014's Open Windows, Vigalondo has played with genre mechanics and challenged the paradigms of conventional storytelling. Now, the writer/director is at it again. But this time, he's taken the DNA of kaiju films — and spliced it with that of an indie comedy-drama.

After opening with the sighting of a giant creature in Seoul, South Korea, Colossal fast-forwards 25 years to the present day, where we meet Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an alcoholic hot mess who's just been booted from the New York City loft she shared with her boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens). Returning to her now-empty childhood home in the town of Mainhead, Gloria reconnects with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a former classmate, and is shocked to hear recent news of a towering monster materializing out of thin air and terrorizing the citizens of Seoul. Nothing, however, can prepare her for the most shocking news of all — that she and the monster are inextricably linked.

Make no mistake, Colossal is every bit as oddball as its premise makes it sound. However, to Vigalondo's credit, the film's radical gear-switching and genre-blending works wonderfully, especially with Hathaway and Sudeikis in the lead roles. Whether it's as a dark comedy that tackles such heavy themes as physical and substance abuse, or as a lighthearted riff on Pacific Rim (complete with a giant robot and all), Colossal never fails to endear itself to viewers. And that goes double for its ending, which is as applause-worthy as anything Toho Studios ever released.

Colossal is receiving its world premiere as part of TIFF 2016's Vanguard programme. Its runtime is 1 Hr. 50 Min.

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