Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Lobster (2015) - Review

If you've ever looked at a dating website and considered the details you are asked to input as reductionist, then the events that take place in Yorgos Lanthimos' sci-fi The Lobster will at least comfort you in the knowledge that the worse thing that could happen to you is that nobody clicks on your profile. Based in a dystopian but familiar world that has effectively banned the act of being single, the ultimate punishment for what they consider a "loser" is to be turned into an animal, and with only 45 days to find a partner, its no wonder that the forests are run amok with flamingos and camels.

With Colin Farrell playing his dowdy best, we see this world through his bespectacled eyes. After his wife of 11 years left him, he has to come to terms with a world that does not care for any nuances of his personality. Maybe the most disturbing prospect of this reality is the pathetically mundane defining features that they believe will help them catch a mate; from nosebleeds to short-sightedness to having a cold heart, a relationship is deemed to be a success if both people have, for example, a limp. As desperate as everyone is find a partner, their deadpan and monotonous delivery betrays their utter disinterest in doing so.

Despite this miserable concept, the films dark humour and preposterous scenarios do provide us with plenty of disparaging laughter, helped on by a huge cast that includes John C. Reilly, Ben Wishaw, Ashley Jensen, Olivia Coleman, Lea Seydoux and Michael Smiley. Rachel Weisz plays a member of the "Loner" group, outlaw's living outside the system who are as strict about being single as the rest of society are about being in a relationship. It is with her that Farrell's David possibly has a chance at actual love, and they try to express their feelings through a series of ridiculous secret gestures, lest they face the terrifying and brutal punishments of the Loner group.

This is a world of extremes, and extreme measures are taken for simple things that we as a viewer take for granted. The Lobster is a poignant satire about the way we look for love, and indeed the overemphasis on almost unnecessary details that seem to blacken so many peoples quest for a partner. Delightful absurd, its only the films latter third, with its move to the Loser colony and abrupt slowing of pace that lets the film down, but the last scenes will leave you a gasp at an act that is utterly romantic but disappointingly necessary to a world with no hope of ever changing.



In case you was wondering, The Lobster has a website where you can find out which animal you would be most suited for, when the realisation comes that you suck at relationships. I'm an owl and Richee is a dolphin. Find the quiz here and let us know which animal you'll be spending your days as in the comments.

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