Keswick Film Club - Reviews - The Lobster

Reviews - The Lobster

The Lobster

Reviewed By John Porter

The Lobster
The Lobster
Sunday brought The Lobster (2015, Yorgos Lanthimos), an off-beat drama with a surreal streak and blackly comic, satirical edge. David (Colin Farrell) is single. Therefore he is placed into The Hotel with other single people and given a set number of days to find a suitable partner. If he succeeds he will be sent with them to The City and allocated some children. If he fails he will be turned into the animal of his choice and set free in The Woods. David tries, and meets an assortment of characters, but his destiny lies elsewhere. Concepts of accepted paths through life, categorisation, and societally defined standards of relationship success lie at the heart of the movie and are tackled with Lanthimos' own brand of dry humour, the effectiveness of which may depend on the wiring of your brain. A narration is given, like the speech and actions of the characters (although it may be more apt to refer to them as 'figures'), blankly with little or no emotion evident; emphasis is therefore placed on to their symbolic qualities and surreal delivery. The words are exact and reeled off, again, as are the figures: unquestioning and going through the motions as if advancing through a strange dream. This dream is physically beautiful with muted, soft colours and wonderfully plain compositions, and manages to find the place just beyond reality with ease. To call the movie bizarre is obvious, but its achievement in offering an alternate, allegorical portrait of a common strand of society, and relying so heavily on the figurative to do so seems quite unique. The Lobster manages to poke fun at the ridiculous and strange in the relationship 'game' by using the very same qualities in its style, and while the point of view Lanthimos conveys is pessimistic, once seen it cannot be 'un-seen'.

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