The Lobster

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The Lobster (2016)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Written by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou

Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ariane Labed, John C. Reilly, Lea Seydoux

David (Farrell) has joined with other singles in The Hotel where he hopes to find a romantic connection. He has 45 days to meet someone before he’s transformed into an animal and sent out into the world.

This film is a unique experience from the very beginning. The story was written by Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) and Efthymis Filippou (Alps), both Greek filmmakers. Lanthimos also directed this one. The film stars Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy), Ariane Labed (Before Midnight), John C. Reilly (We Need to Talk About Kevin), and Lea Seydoux (Spectre).

This story is unique, and sometimes very good. The world of the film is somehow easy to relate to while being a complete fantasy. Perhaps it’s just the concepts that the film works with. The ideas of loneliness and keeping up appearances appear many times throughout the film, as do despair and anger. Not much there that most people can’t relate to. The events are a different story. The film advertises itself as a black comedy, but there’s something more within. The sense of foreboding and tragedy are heavy in the story. The dialogue in the film is harsh and direct, leaving little fluff for the actors. Every word feels like it was carefully chosen and precisely placed for effect. The darkness within this movie is a bit heavy-handed and makes this a tough watch. It also seems to miss on the moments it seeks to find comedy. The good and the bad combine to leave this one just a bit flat for me. Somewhat surprisingly, this one was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

The actors had an interesting task on their hands in this one. The minimal dialogue left a lot of physical interpretation in the mix. Colin Farrell’s role is central to the story, and he did a good job with it. The subdued performance he gave is perfect given the material. He’s joined by Rachel Weisz, Ariane Labed, John C. Reilly, and Lea Seydoux. Each of these actors did a nice job with their roles in this one as well. Unfortunately none of the stars was able to elevate the material. Despite good work, none of the performances is even slightly memorable.

This one uses visuals to tell the story more often than the dialogue. The cinematography is good, and the locations are beautiful. Much of the filming was done in Ireland, around Dublin and a number of other locations. The editing in the film does a lot in creating the darkness and tension of every moment in the movie. The unique aspects of this production almost have to be seen to be understood.

The Lobster is essentially an absurdist’s look at the way people connect. The examination of social constructs doesn’t quite make the connection it seeks, but it’s an ambition attempt. If you’re a fan of black comedy or absurdist films, this is one for you. I would also recommend this one to anyone who wants to see something unique. The filmmakers have created something that’s hard to compare. I give this one 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 119 Minutes


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