Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Country: UK / other
The absurdly visionary “The Lobster”, a product of the tortuous mind of the Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, who co-wrote with his habitual collaborator Efthymis Filippou, is an opportunistic farce that despite grabbing a few ideas from other movies still manages to keep a personality of its own.
Along this outlandish trip, we spot camouflaged traces of “The Hunger Games” mirrored in its hunts in the woods, some of the quirks and incongruities characteristic of Quentin Dupieux’s prevarications, and also a mix of doomed futuristic romance that made Spike Jonze’s “Her” a reference in the genre (Colin Farrell even looks like Joaquin Phoenix here).
I’ve to recognize that the script is both as inventive and empathetic. However, I found the film overlong, adopting an immutable, chewed up pace that after two hours ended up tiring me a bit. Mr. Lanthimo’s humor continues enthusiastically dry, relying on a cadence of words that are frequently uttered in an awkwardly rhythmic manner. The novelty is that these words are in British English, contrary to his previous, “Dogtooth” and “Alps”, whose Greek language makes them even more insensitive.
The protagonist in this dystopian tale, set in an enigmatic place called The City, is David (Farrell), an architect who was dumped by his wife and taken to an isolated hotel filled with single people who have 45 days to match with someone. If for some reason this goal couldn’t be achieved, they are turned into an animal (Apichatpong’s “Uncle Boonmee” is another one that came immediately to my mind) and set free into the treacherous woods, populated by avid hunters looking for preys. Each successful hunt concedes them a time extension at the hotel.
In the case things go wrong, David has already chosen to be turned into a lobster because this specimen lives many years, can swim, and stays fertile all its life. Punished by fate, he matches with a short-haired woman who was more his type than a silky blonde he had previously flirted with. Yet, living next to her reserves him some bitter surprises that will transform him into a fugitive. In the woods, he finally finds the true love when he bumps into another fugitive (Rachel Weisz) who belongs to the emancipated Loner group. Their attraction triggers a corrosive jealousy in the dominant Loner leader (Léa Seydoux). In parallel, we can also follow the destinies of David’s peculiar mates, played by John C.Reilly and Ben Whishaw.
Mr. Lanthimos remains faithful to his offbeat inclinations and didn’t seem concerned with the plot’s discrepancies and the frequent puerile dialogue. Regardless his nonchalant posture, the baffling tones become softer as the story advances and the “The Lobster”, even decently amusing and exploratory, never really escalates into superior levels.