The Lobster is the sort of movie that defies explanation, a nebulous slice of bizarro cinema that begs to be seen if not understood. Well, that may not exactly be true, on some levels it is perfectly understandable, perhaps even relatable, but the execution takes it to another level of odd. It is a film that challenges expectations, makes you laugh at the absurdity, cringe at some of what it shows, and in some ways touch you on an emotional level. Of course, this is not a movie for everyone, and while I would recommend it to everyone, I cannot guarantee your enjoyment.
The movie was directed and co-written by Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), is certainly nominee for most bizarre movie of 2016, or, at least, the most bizarre to star big recognizable names.. 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 have not seen anything like this in some time, if ever.
The tale is set in some point in the near future where everyone must be in a relationship. If you are not coupled (through inability to find someone, or even the death of a spouse), 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. Some of the people there are not able to find someone or don’t want to be with someone, so they try to flee into the woods, sparking the hunts/ 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, the opposite of what happens in the resort. 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 and totally ruthless. Through its subtlety and dry tone, it takes aim for the jugular and hits its mark. The movie looks at relationships, the need for companionship and just skewers conceptions. It is a very strange film that leaves a lot to the imagination. It is 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.
The movie is presented in a ratio of 1.85:1 and the transfer looks very good. This is not a flashy film, it was shot digitally and the color palette has a strong blue/gray look to it. It has a nice level of detail and feels cold and oppressive, much like the characters in the story. AS for the audio, it is also quite good, dialogue is strong and centered and the score has a great, punchy feel that stands out throughout.
The lone extra is an EPK called The Fabric of Attraction: Concocting The Lobster.
The best I can say to end this is to see it. Watch the bizarre tale pour off the screen. It is dark, dry, weird, and totally engrossing. I loved it.
August 7, 2016
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 8/07/2016 06:50:00 PM
Labels: 2010s, 2016, Ben Whishaw, Blu-ray Review, Colin Farrell, Comedy, Drama, John C. Reilly, Movie Review, Rachel Weisz, 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.