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2/1/18

THE LOBSTER - REVIEW


From director Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster is an absurdist black comedy set in a near future where single people are forced to pair up romantically with someone within a month and a half or else they get turned into animals.

Colin Farrell is a newly single man who is escorted to a strange hotel where he begins his search for a new mate. He is given a specific number of days to meet someone and this time can only be extended if he manages to hunt and kill other single people who have escaped to live in the forest as they are not welcome in society. As you can see, this isn't exactly your typical rom-com and, in fact, it's a rather grim look at dating norms and the pressures of society in general. The very dry, deadpan humour makes it a more palatable satire but the film never sugarcoats the more brutal aspects of that dystopia. People literally lose their humanity, commit suicide, mutilate each other: this is a desperate and cruel world that forces emotional connections in the coldest and most unromantic way possible which leads to people either losing themselves or living a lie in order to survive. It's a fascinating and unpredictable vision of the future and the film is rather unique, to say the least.

Colin Farrell gives an appropriately restrained performance, as do the likes of Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux and Rachel Weisz. The film is very skilful when it comes to creating characters we can relate to and understand even if the society they live in is completely incongruous. There's a lot to interpret in this movie and part of the fun is doing just that but it's an easy film to enjoy purely based on its twisted sense of humour. Whether it's Ashley Jensen's character being defined mostly by the fact that she likes biscuits or how someone with nice hair gets turned into a pony with equally nice hair or Ben Whishaw's character pretending to have nosebleeds in order to get married, it's all so cleverly bizarre that it's hard not to enjoy the film's creativity as well as its sillier aspects. This is a refreshingly off-beat, very funny but also quite sad take on dating and human relationships as a whole and the sharp screenplay was certainly deserving of its Oscar nomination.

When it comes to poking fun at the emotional isolation that our society tends to encourage, The Lobster is a far more effective film than most, including Spike Jonze's Her, which explored similar themes. It might prove to be too dry for some people but this is a pretty unique and very well made film that deserves a bit more attention.

Watch it.

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