It isn’t every day you watch a film as brilliantly original and odd as The Lobster, and it isn’t any day that you want give a succinct summarisation of its plot. In essence to do so, I must be as unapologetic and brash as the characters that inhabit this strange parallel reality.
This film follows David (Colin Farrell), who lives in a world where single people are sent to a hotel. In this hotel, they must find a partner within 45 days or they will be turned into an animal of their choice and given a second chance at love as a different species. David chooses a lobster, as they remain fertile all their lives and he likes the sea, among other well thought-out justifications. This choice is well received, as there are too many dogs in the world.
“The Lobster is overflowing with seasoned character actors”
Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos, with his fourth feature, has beautifully constructed a film which transcends plot conventions with its frequently hilarious script and thematic provocation. It is abruptly clear that the film is about love, and no efforts are made to mask this. Lanthimos asks pointed questions about relationship compatibility and what it means to be right for another person, whether shared characteristics like a perpetually bloody nose or uncommon heartlessness really matter. These themes are explored with simple, uncensored dialogue that makes for most of the film’s funniest moments. The Lobster is overflowing with seasoned character actors, ranging from Michael Smiley to Olivia Colman, who bring the obscurity of their characters to life and never seem out-of-place in this profound and horrifying world.
It may already be apparent that this is not a film for everyone. The Lobster places its themes above all else, and the humour serves to engage the audience for an admittedly ambitious two-hour runtime. However, if you stick with Lanthimos’ deliberate pace and fantastic cast, you will undoubtedly lose yourself in his wild dystopia.
More like this: Dogtooth (2009)