|An 'interesting' storyline for sure|
Indeed, as the film begins we witness the 'execution' of a donkey. It's a little confusing, dark, and kinda funny as well. Let me tell you now, it still makes little sense. Shortly after, Farrell checks into a hotel - decidedly 1970s - and is asked a series of point blanc quickfire questions. "Do you like women or men?" presents a bit of a challenge for him. Perhaps Lanthimos is criticizing the outlook of society on relationships, or most likely online dating. And then, perhaps the biggest surprise comes when Farrell refers to his dog as 'my brother; he didn't make it'. In any case, he is taken upstairs to a nice enough looking room, that has a prison-like tannoy system. He is to be kept in the hotel for 45 (I think) days, in order to find love. If he does not find a partner, then he shall be turned into an animal and sent away into the woods. He chooses a lobster: ironic really if you consider the meaning of the word in the sense of love.
|An ensemble cast.|
And it is in this hotel where a large portion of the movie occurs. Everyone speaks in a false, stilted voice (not bad acting, the converse), and some of the lines are pretty hilarious. Olivia Coleman and her 'husband' (who may or may not have starred in Dogtooth) put on shows that are hilarious in the best awkward way. And then the Kubrickian 'hunting' montages (in which the hotel guests return to the woods to track down and shoot single escapees in order to gain extra days) are shot with an exhilerating slow-motion that makes them one of this years darker pleasures. Speaking of Kubrick, actually, I saw a lot of A) his deadpan sensibility and B) his trademark symmetry in this film (which is always nice: the human eye seems to particularly enjoy symmetry).
|A trip to the city|
It is here that Farrell's character falls in love with Rachel Weisz. Their interactions in the city become more and more impassioned, climaxing in a humorous make-out session; and it is heavily suggested that they 'fuck in the woods'. They create a special code of tree slapping and 'inconspicuous' actions in order to convey their actions without being noticed by the others. Finally, a real relationship amidst this carnage. It also turns out that Weisz was a narrator for most of the first half: a narrator who added a lot of comic one-liners to the proceedings. But, alas, tragedy strikes and Farrell/Weisz must once again escape...
|Not quite the great escape...|
The whole ensemble cast is absolutely fantastic. Speaking in the false, monotone voices that I mentioned earlier, they deliver all the lines of the piece in a comedic and ironic tone. It's an interesting experiment that ultimately pays off. Special praise goes to Farrell and Weisz, who lead the picture in all it's strangeness. And then the seductively dangerous Seydoux, with her equally dubious partner (played by the surefire fantastic Michael Smiley). In terms of hotel guests, both Ben Wishaw and John C. Reilly are perfect as typical people (in this world at least) looking for love; and the conversations they have in a 3 with Farrell are either illuminating or hilarious or both. In fact, I can't really separate the cast members on the basis of prestige: they're all excellent.
The camerawork isn't dynamite, nor is it unique: but it's certainly excellent in that European-arthouse modernist style, enhanced by Kubrickian symmetry (and that Kubrickian dystopia so present in a Clockwork Orange). It is, of course, accompanied by a playful and brooding classical score that perfectly complements the supreme weirdness of the picture.
Overall, the Lobster looks good, feels good, has a good story, and a great ensemble cast. it's funny, smart, enlightening, and exceedingly dark. Yet there's just a little something missing in order for it to get that 5 stars....
|The Lobster gets 4 stars!|