I have been catsitting a dying cat all week. It refuses to poo or pee. Every two days, vets come give it an enema. The nearly-dead cat is apparently also an asshole, so it sprays them with days-old urine.
It is under these conditions that I consider Colossal, the Anne-Hathaway-controls-a-giant-monster movie. A hybrid of homecoming melodrama and sci-fi mindfuck, Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal posits that a down-on-her-luck Hathaway sends her astral projection as a towering kaiju to Seoul whenever she enters her hometown playground at 8:05 in the morning.
This high-concept approach clashes with the breezy jitters of Green Crack, the weed I had been smoking all week to drown out the howling of the dying cat. True to its name, this sativa smokes quick, the mild cerebral effects pleasantly wearing off sooner than one would like – necessitating, of course, multiple daily joints. You will look high on this weed, with a powerful tug behind your eyeballs.
In the cinema, this hyper-present cannabis heightened the feeling that I wanted Colossal to work better than it does. Vigalondo’s first feature – the flawless timeloop thriller Timecrimes – established the director’s ability to create entire filmic worlds out of jigsaw pieces of different genres. Here, he fuses economical filmmaking with tentpole sensibility to create an allegorical spectacle of a woman coming to terms with the aggressive men in her past.
But I couldn’t settle into Colossal, which never quite lands the right tone between indie comedy and monster psychodrama. And while Colossal is concerned with the morality of Hathaway’s enormous doppelgänger demolishing a Korean megacity, the movie never really addresses that what we are essentially watching is the mass murder of Asians by white suburban Americans working out their emotional problems.
The surprisingly brutal ending, where a character receives an unanticipated comeuppance, drew cheers at my screening. Upon witnessing a violent creature being put out of its misery, I thought of the dying cat. At home I often see it hunkered in the corner. It locks me in its gaze. “Kill me,” the eyes say.
Colossal spared me two hours from a cat begging me for death. I have spent Sundays doing worse. On a relative scale, Colossal is a decent matinee with your lover, especially if you are trying to avoid the harsh realities of pet mortality.
The racy Green Crack, honestly? Pay your bills. Do your taxes. Clean your kitchen. Sitting and watching a medium-good quirky fantasy is not why this weed was made.