Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster depicts a dystopian society where being single is so heavily frowned upon that remaining that way nets you a unique punishment.
The focus for the audience in this bizarre world is Colin Farrell’s David, a man who is recently divorced and basically sentenced to stay in a hotel in order to find a partner within 45 days or be turned into the animal of his choice. David chooses a lobster -hence the title- before being checked into this bizarre place.
Beneath the surface this is meant to be a satire of society’s obsession with relationships and how it is frowned upon by many for someone to be alone especially as they get older. Exploring this concept in a way that takes it to the extreme is theoretically a good idea but the execution here left a lot to be desired.
I suspect that a lot of my reason for not liking this film is that I couldn’t get on with the style of it. There are endless scenes of characters saying things in monotone as bizarre things happen around them without any reaction whatsoever. Everyone in this world has been completely stripped of emotion despite the fact that they talk about their feelings a lot of the time.
For me the story never really kicked in and the plot meanders along through processions of pointless scenes that drag on for far longer than is comfortable. I could see where attempts at humour were being made and barring a couple of exceptions none of them landed with me.
I was slightly interested in the concept of the hotel and how certain aspects of relationships were being explored such as staying with someone purely out of a desire to not be alone or pretending that you are something you’re not just so that you can impress someone of the opposite sex. Some of these scenes were cleverly constructed and the point fairly well made but in the second half of the film the plot completely disappears and David finds himself amongst a completely different set of monotone bizarre characters.
It’s a jarring transition between going from something that I could understand what it was getting at but failing to capture me to going completely off the reservation and subjecting the audience to scene after scene of apparent pointlessness.
This film has a lot of good actors in it such as Jessica Barden, Rachel Weisz -who also serves as the narrator- and Ben Whishaw but it’s hard to say that anyone gives a good performance. Their performances were probably perfect examples of what the director wanted as stylistically the film really holds together with everyone acting as if they are completely detached from themselves, the world and each other but I can’t say I enjoyed any of the performances due to how frustrating I found the whole thing.
I’m sure that this film has an audience and the intended audience will lap this up but it’s safe to say that I am not in that audience. There wasn’t really anything here to enjoy for me personally so I can’t recommend this. If you are the audience that this film wants then it is probably something that you will really enjoy.