Movie Name: The Lobster
Studio: Element Pictures
Release Date(s): May 15, 2015 (Cannes)/May 13, 2016 (US)
MPAA Rating: R
David (Colin Farrell) is searching for true love…and he must find it before he is turned into a lobster. David lives in a world where being single is a crime and the punished become animals for those who are living by the laws can hunt. With the loss of his wife, David must go to the Hotel where he will get a chance at redemption. There are women to choose from and opportunities to live free by hunting the Loners in the Woods. David’s time is running out and transformation is a danger.
Directed by Yorgos Lathimos (who is also writer along with Efthymis Filippou), The Lobster is a sci-fi dark comedy. The film premiered at Cannes in 2015 (where it won the Jury Prize) and made the rounds at the festivals before being released in a limited release in 2016. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
The Lobster is a comedy but it is a borderline comedy. It is the darkest of dark, but just when you think it isn’t a comedy, it reminds you that it is. This darkness isn’t for everyone, but it does work here.
The story borders on absurdity but smartly doesn’t explain anything. It takes a while unwind the society that the characters live in and that is part of the fun of the movie. The script is peppered with ideas of how the set-up is but nothing is really spelled out (which is another potential frustration for people). The dialogue is equally odd, but once again, The Lobster works due to its weirdness (verging on outright quirkiness).
The cast is strong. I’m not the biggest Colin Ferrell but the character is good and fighting from repression. Scenes like David trying to hold back his emotions after the death of his brother (the dog) showed a lot of range. Rachel Weisz plays his love and plays against her usually more glamorous roles. David’s “friends” are played by John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw, but I particularly like Angeliki Papoulia as the “Heartless Woman”.
The movie combines a sense of bleakness to a modern setting. Some of the hotel scenes feel like throwbacks to Kubrick’s The Shining and woodland scenes are peppered with strange animals walking through (aka the transformed singles). The second half of the movie has a more urban feel with very “normal” looking locations like the diner.
The Lobster is a fun world that I would like to see more of. I don’t want to see a sequel to this movie, but revisiting the dystopia world created in the film might be interesting…maybe from the married side. I like a lot of the ideas of The Lobster like how society feels that unmarried are failures but also how people who are good matches will go through anything to find a flaw to create break-ups…the movie is a nice parable for today’s society. I know that a lot of people will hate The Lobster, but for me it works.