The Lobster is a drama/black comedy from the controversial yet intriguing Yorgos Lanthimos, now known for his thought provoking, surrealist dramas, the film is set in a dystopian modern setting, where single people are sent to a hotel and made to get into a couple within 45 days or they are turned into animals. The film stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C Reilly, Lea Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Ben Whishaw and Jessica Barden.
Strange, intriguing and very surreal, I feel you can use those 3 words to describe pretty much all of Lanthimos’ films, differing drastically in subject material and themes but each time they seem to share similar themes and motifs.The Lobster is no different, filmed with long takes and shot on location, there’s an plain, emotionless realism to the film despite its premise being so bizarre – another motif of Lanthimos films I find. Also the characters are stuck in the situation they’re in and seem oddly content, despite probably objecting to it deep down (metaphor for settling down in relationships eh).
We mainly follow David (Colin Farrell) and his experience in the hotel, making new friends and realizing his true place as the course of the story goes on, Farrell is brilliant as usual and seems to have found an interesting niche for himself of late in a few indie dramas, he also starred in Lanthimos The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017). And just like in that film, Farrell is deadpan, emotionless and robotic in his performance and delivery, not that he’s bad in this but the material and writing demanded it, though pretty much all of the other characters are too, contributing to the tone of the film and emphasizing the more outlandish events that take place.
The world almost feels a bit like 2004s Equilibrium in a sense – in that film emotion is completely outlawed and displaying it will have you arrested, punished and or killed. The Lobster’s not a futuristic setting/dystopia but everyone seems to completely devoid of emotions and or not allowed to express them either which makes for some humorous scenes in the end, though a lot of the material is quite disturbing in a surrealist way. The film’s a pretty mixed bag on the whole, it’s really not funny enough for a comedy and it leans a lot more on its dramatic moments, that said moments are hard to take seriously because of the more absurd, non-sensical plot points that occur.
The performances are solid as dead-pan and emotionless as they are but again it’s hard to judge the actors because of the style of the writing/dialogue, though Rachel Weisz is a delight and great in pretty much anything and she plays well alongside Colin Farrell. I guess the film really boils down to what you take from it, it’s a satirical, black comedic take on relationships and the absurdity of feeling like you absolutely must be in one as an adult, despite mis-matches and maybe not being emotionally ready and on the other hand, it’s a non-sensical sci-fi drama with no real explanation for the setting or anything going on. If you take it more for it’s break down of relationships and the lengths people go to, to convince themselves they’re happy with someone there is something to be enjoyed I suppose.
But yeah it’s a weird one, it didn’t really do anything for me but I do have to say there are some funny moments and some other surprisingly emotional ones, the film doesn’t quite hit the mark for me but I can see how people could get a real kick out of it.
. Final third may leave you wanting more from the story
. Dialogue and delivery may be too jarring for some
. Has some funny moments/decent acting