June 2, 2016
The Lobster, directed and co-written by Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), is an early nominee for most bizarre movie seen in a theater for 2016. Seriously, it is a strange film. It is also a movie I knew I had to see after seeing the trailer for the first time. The movie takes a look at relationships, how they work or don’t, and, well, you just need to see it. I can guarantee you probably haven’t seen anything like this in some time, if ever.
The movie is set in some point in the future, and it appears that everyone must be in a relationship. If you are not coupled, you get sent to a resort where you have 45 days to find a new mate, or you get turned into an animal of your choosing. You can add time to your stay by assisting in hunting down the single runaways who are living in the woods. An odd concept to be sure, but it works, in a very strange fashion.
Colin Farrell stars as David, a man who has lost his wife and is in need of a new relationship. He arrives at the resort with his pet dog, who he explains is his brother, who had been there and had not made it. We follow David as he makes friends with a couple other single fellows (John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw). We watch as they embark on new potential relationships, engage in hunts, and attend seminars showing how they can make themselves more attractive to a potential mate, or to speak on their defining characteristics (like a limp, a nice smile, or random nosebleeds).
Eventually, David makes the decision that he does not want to stay there and runs away, joining those in the woods. It is here that he meets a woman we know only as Short Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz), David falls in love with her. The funny thing is these runaways have rules against relationships which makes being in one or hinting at being in one a dangerous proposition. This leads them to being very careful about their feelings.
You know, this description of plot elements only scratches the surface of what is in this film. It is an experience to be sure. The plot alone is interesting to think about, how a society like that works, what led it to be this way, not to mention how the transformation actually happens. Beyond that, there is the way people interact with each other, there is this dryness to the the dialogue and the way people act, as if they have been drugged to have their emotions suppressed. People are blunt and will do and say really strange things to test their partner or their potential mates.
The Lobster is subtle, it is sometimes vulgar, it is always bizarre, and it is endlessly fascinating. It is another one of those films that does not explain everything, it wants you to work with clues given in the film to put the big picture together. It is a modern rumination on the place of love and relationships in society. It is a movie that begs to be seen. Whether you like it or not, well, that’s on you.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 6/02/2016 08:05:00 PM
Labels: 2010s, 2016, Ben Whishaw, Colin Farrell, Comedy, John C. Reilly, Movie Review, Rachel Weisz, Romance, Theatrical Release, Yorgos Lanthimos
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.