The Lobster is set in a dystopian future where single people are transported to a retreat where they have 45 days to find a mate otherwise they will be transformed into an animal and sent out into the wilderness. In the resort, they have very strict rituals: Masturbation is banned, sexual relations with the maid are mandatory, and guests must attend and take part in seminars that hammer down the importance of relationships. A single man named David (Colin Farrell) decides to escape the resort, joining forces with a group of fellow single outsiders living in the woods outside the resort known as the Loners. However complications begin to emerge once he falls for a short-sighted woman (Rachel Weisz) in the group.
Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos certainly has a knack for world building which he also demonstrated in the 2010 Best Foreign Language Film nominee Dogtooth which deals with a couple hiding their children from the outside world and giving them unorthodox teachings. While this film isn’t as twisted as Dogtooth nor does it have the same exact premise, it is still just as satirical. Not only that, but The Lobster is a perfect illustration of the pressures of finding a companion in today’s society.
As I was walking home after I saw the movie, it made me think of how I’m always on Tinder, frantically swiping left and right so that I can find a good companion and not feel so alone. As I still try to find the right companion, I always think of this movie.
Even though this film has a futuristic dystopian setting, Lanthimos is able to make it appear grounded in reality with how it uses an average looking hotel as its main set piece, the characters wear normal clothes, and when characters are turned into animals, we never actually see a transformation take place. So Lanthimos is able to show that less is more.
The actors do a great job as well. Colin Farrell gives, in my opinion, the best performance of his career. Whenever you look into his eyes, you can always see how he’s analyzing and looking to get out of each rough situation he’s in. However, as fantastic as he is, it’s really the women who run the show. Rachel Weisz is a scene stealer as Short Sighted Woman with her deadpan narration mixed with gleaming disposition. The Night Manager’s Olivia Colman provides some of the film’s funniest moments as the sardonic yet sinister Hotel Manager. Lea Seydoux, who plays the ambiguous leader of the Loners, commands each scene she is in even with just a simple glance and with films like this, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Midnight in Paris, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, she continues to build a case as to why she should be one of the biggest stars in the game.
Lastly, a shout out must being given to the cinematographer Thimios Bakatakis. During the first half, when David is in the hotel, he uses a bleak, blueish color scheme. But in the second half, when David finally escapes, the film looks much brighter as if David has escaped into another world.
Overall, The Lobster is a masterful black comedy that is the most original film to come out this year. It manages to mix colorful world building with a societal theme prevalent in our own world.
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