Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Written & Directed By: Nacho Vigalondo
Cinematography By: Eric Cress
Editor: Ben Baudhain & Luke Doolan
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Sevens, Tim Blake Nelson, Austin Stowell
Gloria is an out-of-work party girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown. When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to his far-off phenomenon. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.
The film mixes Kaiju and uses it as a metaphor for toxic male masculinity. Which works and it doesn't. It's an interesting signify to mix into genre and it really comes off as a surprise out of nowhere. Which actually more comes across in the second half. It stays small scale for the most part .
This is a strange yet subversive film where the metaphors are strong and seem to be stronger than the actual story. As the film seems to be like a jazz song some will dig it and go with it’s vibe. Some will watch the film and be disappointed as maybe they don’t get it or are disappointed by what type of film they thought they were getting.
The first half seems more like a like energy character comedy with a kind of romantic comedy edge more due to Anne Hathaway and her rapport with her co-stars.
Anne Hathaway is charming as a screw up of the female variety. The real revelation in this film is actually Jason Sudeikis he gives a grounded at first performance that is both comedic and strong.
The film is low key but revelatory and shows the other side of his Abusive behavior as A character seems to morph into a full blooded villain. it seems through rationale and power more than anything.
The films characters and theme seem to revolve round Self destruction which comes out eventually harming those around her including others far away. Even though it's not intentional. It seems bound to happen
The only places the film feels hokey is in it's ending which is necessary. Though feels stitched together and more to please the audience that was hoping for more action and adventure. Where we are brought into an origin and flashback where all is revealed it feels both kind of predictable as it keeps getting hinted at but also silly but you go with it for the films sake. If anywhere that is where the films weakness lies. As it seems more fun being ambiguous. Letting the imagination run wild when it comes to theories. It seems more self serving trying to make a joke of it all almost.
By the end of the film which explains why this is happening it seems more silly and might have been more powerful if not explained. Luckily the film has more going for it. It just feels like it was here so that the director Nacho Vigalando who usually makes realistic Sci-fi films could say something while staying in his respective genre.
Maybe the film hits hard for some. As it is a film that makes the villain more of one of those men’s activist for men's rights more in spirit and actions than actual ideology, taking stock of his failures in life out on the films heroine who is already a mess, but still more successful and stronger than him as a person. Even if not physically and as he seems to make her similarly miserable and taking out all of his problems on her and feeling he deserves her in some way or form because of the many gifts he gives her and the attention he gives even though she never requested any of it.
It might also be saying something that due to this films genre is one that the male activists would most likely be fans of and here is cleverly subverted.
What is also striking is that the main character played by Anne Hathaway is a habitual fuck-up and alcoholic, with very little exact reason as to why. While she does learn a lesson by the end she doesn't exactly turn over a new leaf. The character shows growth but the last shot kind of takes the wind out of her growth. It's funny but also shows that old habits are hard to break.
Though the films showcases her growth as a character. Herself destructive behavior is never fully explained or explored. So it is interesting that the film feels a need to explain the more other worldly elements, but not the basic ones fully.
While in a more mainstream film this film would have her get together with the nice guy character. This film exposes him more as a villain and that the nice guy personae was a front. Especially when his jealousy is peaked when she is attracted, flirts and seduces a guy in front of him. Now I applaud the film for showing a female character with sex appeal and a sexual appetite and. Not making it her only defining characteristic or a problem. Treating the main character with as much attention and allowing her to be as sloppy as most films allow male main characters to be.
The film sneaks in it female equality message in what looks to be more an America Kaiju movie.Though the Kaiju is the weak element of the movie that leaves many questions. It is am inciting incident that the film keeps hinting at and ties the theme together. As it feels an interest, but also bait for audiences to deal with a film that is deeper then what it offers.
One of the sly statements the film might be trying to make is that the United States populace seems obliviousness to foreign disaster in the long run and might see it more as a story or entertainment not to get too invested in. They see it more like any form of entertainment more disposable forgotten a few minutes later. Though watching the monster live seems more like fun for them. Even if just for it's unpredictability and originality. Like a fantastic reality show that plays like a horror movie.
Though by the end the loss of lives of many particularly a minority seems less important then two Caucasian characters working through their issues that leads to many deaths that are treated as insignificant or more as background but never feel personal. Just more sympathetic. The film is surreal in more than the obvious ways of the monsters. It's an original concept That takes it’s time to get to it’s point. Usually a sign of a good storyteller. As once it does all hell breaks loose but stays subtle. The film stays dark it never pops with energy or excitement.
It feels like characters are always changing the more we get to know about them. Going against their original presentation so that it always feels like they are changing or morphing. Which teaches us and the characters that we can't trust initial assessment.
Though the development of the villain is very well composed and written. Jason Sudeikis gives his best performance as there is more substance to it than he has really been given before.
Though as often in super hero films the more meatier and interesting role is played by Jason Sudeikis this is the best performance in the film and the ti have seen him do. Though truthfully one of the first more frantic roles I have seen him handle. His role like Hathaway’s is so subtle and filled with so many layers that eventually are revealed though his is more surprising. As we don't expect it as is the nature of this film. It is so strange that it's structure doesn't necessarily feel familiar. But also it is something. We rarely see on screen that might alienate certain members of the audience, who might be able to identify with the character in some way especially early in the film before his change. As they might sympathize with the character. Though either way it offers something different. His resentment of being the nice guy and constantly being held at arms length. Shows more the weakness of his character and a sharp jab at some guys out there who feel they are owed just for being nice and decent.
Even having the source of location being a playground. Shows a sign of fun and helps us understand the characters naturally acting juvenile half the time.
The scenes that come are more of a surprise. That are mixed well into the narrative. As when Hathaway's character hooks up with another guy which sets the second half of the film in motion and then later in the film the scene where she visits Jason Sudeikis character At home and realizes his problems. When it all comes to dawn on her. Just as a scene later in the film where Sudeikis chooses to show his control and masculinity to another male who has come to be reunited with Hathaway’s character.
The Film breaks certain rules we are not used to seeing a self destructive failed protagonist. Succeed at something continuously and then still be headed down the wrong road. Showing that it isn't a bad period but just a pattern for the person. We especially never see it portrayed in a woman. Usually this type of character might stay downtrodden but do one thing that either puts them back on the right path or that they can be proud of and be a bit better but still stuck to a degree.
Here it seems inescapable even when she does heroic things as there are all sorts of other things attached that even when good it still affects others for the worse or she is pressured with keeping up with the good things which prove to be a challenge for her if she has to focus on it.
Anne Hathaway is fun in the role as she is not as polished as she usually is, this is more her in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED mode but not entirely as serious and dramatic. She gives an assured performance that is gawky and awkward as the character is and also physically throughout the film she has an awkward presence that allows Hathaway to show off some physical comedy. Which is all the more impressive considering she was pregnant at the time of filming.
The film works as a parallel for both characters who effect each other and seem to bring about the truth in each other. That seems to be for every hero there must be a villain of sorts or at least a nemesis.
The film showcases her dysfunction to a degree but also shows that his repressed anger has started to shape and warp him internally and now is finally coming out.
It also shows that she can control what she doesn't want to and never expected. even when it seems she can't control herself personally. Though it makes you wonder how the script was constructed was the human element considered first and then the more fantasy story or Vice-versa. As the fantasy element just seems to help develop the characters to make true intentions come out and not seem like such a dark character study romantic comedy with dramatic overtones. The fantasy element gives it a kind of light kookiness.