Just an incredibly traumatising cinematic experience…
Anyone familiar with Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ most famous work Dogtooth will know not to expect a barrel of laughs from his latest effort The Lobster. If you were thinking Lanthimos’ first experience with an English speaking feature film and an all star cast might result in a more conventional film then you would be bang wrong. Oh boy would you be wrong. The Lobster is unsettling, jarring, genuinely hard to watch at times, but somehow still occasionally funny.
An ensemble cast featuring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman and bizarrely Keith from The Office, throw themselves into a film that not only has a outlandish concept but also odd, robotic dialogue.
The film explores how society views relationships using the metaphor that anyone not partnered up, will be persecuted and eventually turned into an animal if they don’t find someone suitable within a given time frame. This unsettling dystopian setting brings to mind a much darker version of Don’t Let Me Go (also excellent). The combination of the story and the setting leaves The Lobster gruellingly bleak and hopeless. It also feels like an allegory for depression what with the cold, empty characters and repetitive, colourless scenery.
I am a fan of Colin Farrell but this role calls for a lot of work between the dialogue and he failed to fully convince me at times. His supporting cast do a better job particularly Rachel Weisz, but Farrell’s disappointingly bland turn perhaps does the film and concept a bit of an injustice.
Farrell’s performance is a minor distraction in what is an overwhelmingly intelligent and arty film. Whilst accusations of pretentiousness will always follow a film so bravely written, it is churlish to suggest that The Lobster is anything other than a creative, original and frankly astonishing piece of art.