Directed by Nacho Vigalondo
Released April 7, 2017
There are times when the actions of one person affect many. Someone with extreme influence has the power to make decrees that become laws, while others take matters into their own hands to make their voices heard through guerilla tactics designed to make noise. And then there are those who, through whatever bizarre circumstances, have an ability to affect people well beyond the scope of what should be possible. A creature with immense stature who literally towers over a populace is certainly capable of such disproportionate ability is about as representative an example as you can get of that.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is headed nowhere in life. Fired from her job and dismissed from their home for being out of control by her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), she moves back home to upstate New York, where she runs into bar owner Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). After she begins working at his bar, Gloria starts to realize that she may be inexplicably responsible for the nightly appearance of a giant monster who terrorizes Seoul, South Korea. When Gloria discovers that she’s not the only one capable of this incredible transformation, she decides she must figure out a way to reverse this destructive course of action however she can.
There is no denying that this is a strange film. The way that Gloria first puts it together that she is somehow the monster above Seoul is when she sees video footage of the creature scratching its head in exactly the same manner that she does thanks to a nervous tic. There’s little in the way of scientific or even theoretical reasoning for how this is possible, yet figuring out why it’s happening is never in question, merely what to do with the power, especially as another seeks to use his newfound talent for his own amusement at the expense of the misery of others.
Hathaway is a polarizing talent, one who earned rave reviews for roles such as those in “Les Miserables” and “Rachel Getting Married.” This turn as an aimless screwup isn’t her best performance, and she never manages to transform Gloria into a compelling figure. Sudeikis, on the other hand, delivers a strangely dark turn as the initially likeable Oscar, showing great range in a film with a truly uneven tone. Director Nacho Vigalondo’s 2012 film “Extraterrestrial” is also an odd experiment of a film, but it’s one that feels like it has a purpose. This film, more often than not, just feels strange, and it’s hard to come out of it feeling fulfilled.