Nacho Vigalondo's brazenly strange sci-fi comedy stars Anne Hathaway
This sensationally strange, sometimes raucously enjoyable feature from Spain's Nacho Vigalondo only gets curiouser and curiouser as it goes on. A combination of a slacker indie flick and high-concept monster mash, it operates broadly under the banner of sci-fi comedy. If you find yourself scratching your head, you'll be in the company of Anne Hathaway's lackadaisical heroine Gloria, for whom the ape-like tick is the first sign of her connection with the monster that's terrorising South Korea.
Listless, jobless and sporting a perma-hangover that suits her grungy New Yorker shtick, writer Gloria is skirting rock bottom when her obnoxious English boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens, who else?) dumps her. Making the ignominious return to her hometown, she is enthusiastically greeted by former admirer Oscar (a well-cast Jason Sudeikis), who has evidently been carrying a torch. As Gloria tries to get her life back on track and begins working in Oscar's bar, footage emerges from Seoul of a gargantuan creature whose behaviour is oddly familiar.
Vigalondo is best known for the similarly genre-busting Timecrimes and he was Oscar-nominated for his 2003 short 7:35 in the Morning. He's a director with no shortage of confidence in his vision, and, for better and worse, Colossal tosses the rulebook out the window. It hardly needs saying that the sensibilities Vigalondo attempts to meld are not a natural fit and his fourth film veers wildly in tone. A little too in love with its own quirkiness, the explanation for events is unsatisfying and the internal logic shaky, however, the concept results in some terrifically amusing scenes, Hathaway is wonderful and the climax is certainly fun – even if it only works if you squint.
Less po-faced and much less romantic than, say, Monsters, its cast of quippers might crop up as the light relief in a more traditional sci-fi spectacular but the creatures themselves are merely the appropriately shonky-looking window-dressing for an epic battle of the sexes. Unlike the recent Passengers, it's a film that's not afraid to show a seemingly nice guy turn really fucking nasty. For all its flaws and frustrations, it's this sense of cinematic anarchy that makes Colossal very welcome indeed.
General release from Fri 19 May.