Today’s review comes in the form of the BIFA nominated British/Greek feature The Lobster. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is no stranger to either unique films or even being nominated for multiple awards. One of Yorgos’ previous works, Dogtooth, was highly acclaimed across the world.
The Lobster is released three years after Lanthimos last project and his been welcomed with seven nominations at this year’s BIFA Awards – the highest amount of nominations for a film this year.
With this precedent set – I had very high hopes when I recently caught up with the world and viewed this international flick…
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Colin Farrell stars as David. David arrives at the hotel after his wife has left him, in the company of a dog that used to be his brother. Olivia Colman, the hotel manager, is there to greet them asking very personal questions. She’s brash, arrogant and clearly unhappy. She asks David what animal he wants to be should he fail to find love, hence the film title, David asks to be turned into a lobster for well-thought out reasons.
The Lobster provides an intelligent and original look at the expectations of society today. Single-people of the world looking for love may feel under pressure to find their soulmate in a lifetime but imagine if they had just 45 days or else face being turned into an animal? The film gives the impression that we’re looking at our own world, stripped down to its core.
Rachel Weisz, the love interest, and Farrell have great on-screen chemistry, but as the film goes on, the second-act struggles to keep the entertainment alive. Pointlessly lengthy scenes focused on Farrell and Weisz are initially intriguing but they quickly become grating with the narrative needing some kind of energy kick – it never comes.
Yorgos Lanthimos's black comedy focuses on the general feeling that everyone is expected to find love or else be looked upon as an outcast in the present day’s social circle. The Lobster is as heart-breaking as it is comical, even though the narrative clearly drops off. The climax is frustratingly open-ended but you cannot deny the film's overall originality. Colin Farrell is definitely the glue but it just falls short.
The Lobster has clear emotions of fear and desperation running through it. The intelligence of the script is that it makes you think it portrays the pursuit of happiness, but in reality, the narrative is a metaphor for today’s pushy society – and I like that. If the film doesn’t drag as much as it does, you would have a serious cult film on your hands. For me, it’s a mix bag.
Cineroom’s Rating: 3 Stars
The Lobster is currently out now with a limited UK release. Certificate 15.