This experimental film forces the viewer to confront the misunderstood nature of Kaiju, a Japanese film genre where “strange beasts” wreak terror in major cities to serve a greater evil. In Colossal, Nacho Vigalondo, the Spanish director known for science fiction thrillers Timecrimes (2007) and Open Windows (2014), manipulates the Kaiju genre by humanizing the monster through its protagonist, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an unemployed alcoholic who moves back to her small hometown after being kicked out by her New York City boyfriend.
When an uncanny series of events begin unfold, Gloria believes she has control of a monster terrorizing Seoul, South Korea. How and why she is able to command the avatar is explained throughout the film using flashbacks of her childhood and interactions with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a childhood friend with a sinister past. Though at times witty and visually stunning, the nature of this film is quite dark as it explores the difference between people who do evil things and inherent evilness. This enigmatic Hollywood picture is easily one of the more poignant films of 2017, proving once again that any genre can be repurposed into dynamic storytelling reflective of our modern world.