Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, John C Reilly, Ben Whishaw
Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos
What a weird fucking movie. I can honestly say there are few times where I don’t like a movie, but I am glad I saw it, and I respect it in some odd way. There’s actually a lot to like about this film, but it just doesn’t quite work for me. I almost wish it had been a TV series, because the story has clear acts that each could have been expanded on and added to the richness of a season-long arc, but in a movie it almost feels meandering and makes the film constantly seem like it is coming to an end, then another act starts.
The Lobster has a brilliant premise, that we live in a world where single people are rounded up and put in a “singles hotel” where they are given 45 days to find a mate, or face being turned into an animal. Huge points here for originality and creativity. Our protagonist is David (Farrell), who finds himself here after his wife leaves him for another. He meets an eclectic group of sad sacks, and his own future looks dim. I don’t want to explore the plot too much further, because it leads to some spoilers, but let’s just say there’s more to the story.
However, I started to lose interest in the film after that point. It got too weird, and instead of being a dark comedy, I thought the film just got dark. I began to lose more and more respect and connection for David as the film progressed, and became less interested in his future. By the time the film finally ended, I was glad it did, because I felt like I’d been watching these characters for much longer than two hours.
The film, however, is wholly original, and beautifully shot. It’s a film that often sacrifices pacing in order to capture a beautiful angle, so if you’re someone who enjoys a beautifully shot, long winded film (The Revenant comes to mind), then this might be your film. However, the films change in tone lost me, and I couldn’t help but think that there has to be a better version of this script. An exceptional concept, I’m not sure it is well executed.
I also have to give props to the original score here, because I thought it highlighted the uncomfortable undertone in many scenes. But the acting, I can’t praise. I grew tired of watching muted versions of characters mumbling about, trying to be as dull and lifeless as humanly possible. It’s like the single people in this dystopia are doomed to lack personality of any kind. There are no loud mouth obnoxious single people here? I would have killed for Dane Cook to break down a door and start douching up the place. That’s how badly this film needed someone with an outlandish personality.
Still, even though I didn’t love the film, I appreciate it. I think it tried very hard to be original, and do something different. I think it had moments where it was great, especially in the first third of the film, before going downhill. Also, points for cinematography and score. I’m not sure I would ever want to watch this film again, nor is it something I’d recommend to anyone who wasn’t really into cinema studies.
FINAL GRADE: C-