The Lobster Is Satisfying Strange Science-Fiction Social Satire
CRAZED! DVD Review September 2016
Satisfying Strange Science-Fiction Social Satire
The Lobster As Literary Film
Yorgos Lanthimos’ film, The Lobster which stars Colin Farrell as a man whose wife recently left him for another man who is also short sighted, is set in an alternate reality, maybe a not too distant future, but in my opinion the setting exists in that alternative universe where really great stories live, including myth, parable and allegory.
In the universe of The Lobster it's illegal to be single as an adult. Of course relationships too end, and when they do, single people must go to a place called, The Hotel, where they have 45 days to find a compatible partner, or risk being turned into an animal of their choice.
While at the hotel the “guests,” inmates really, also must go into the surrounding forest to hunt people who live in an alternative society of escapees from the hotel called “the loners”,where romance and sex, as well as helping each other individually are outlawed. When captured they are returned to the hotel to be transformed into animals nobody would normally choose.
The Lobster is a very hard film to define. In a sense it's science fiction crossed with fantasy, but it's also surreal in a sort of Kafka-esque sense, while also being allegorical and satirical. It's a serious, dark comedy that resists definitive meaning.
On the surface it's a commentary on society's obsession with the idea that one isn't complete outside of a couple, and that those who choose to be single are “outsiders.” But that is a narrow view. It is that, but also one could look at in other ways. In fact there is no wrong interpretation of the meaning or multiple meanings of the film. I watched it twice mostly because I kept finding myself thinking about how hard it is to truly rebel in any society. All groups have rigidity, even so called “alternative” groups. The mainstream culture in The Lobster with its rules against singledom and stringent guidelines for compatibility and finding a partner, but “the loners,” have equally inhibiting rules as well. No group is truly free. To me that theme is more dominant than any commentary on dating and romance, although that is in the film too.
Yorgos Lanthimos is arguably an auteur, and over time his films, including Dogtooth and Alps, have evolved their own language, which is perfected in The Lobster. Everything from the music, to how it's shot with no coverage, to the very flat affect style of acting employed, and the satirical use of voice over narration which is almost more monotone than the character’s line delivery. All of these elements create a tension and emotional resonance that allows for an amazingly intellectual and yet also deeply touching experience.
Colin Farrell Is Brilliant As David
It's one of his best roles yet. I rate it up there with his part as the suicidal hit man, (insert character name) of In Bruges. His David is an “Everyman” with no sense of self, just going along and going through the motions until something jolts him enough to act.
He and Rachel Weisz are amazing as the two rebels against both groups in the film. Weisz’s character, the short sighted woman, isn't seen for over half the film, but her voice is heard from the beginning of the film as the narrator. Olivia Colman is great as the manager of the hotel, and Léa Seydoux as the brutal, sadistic leader of “the loners” is also noteworthy. The entire cast does an excellent job.
The Lobster Isn't Escapism
Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, in my opinion is fucking great film making and superb as a story. It's reminiscent of some of the best and most interesting types of short fiction in written form that I’ve read. But it's not written literary fiction. It's a movie.
That being said, it's not going to be everybody's favorite type of movie. If you don't like to think during your movie viewing entertainment, but prefer to escape, (and there's nothing wrong with that), you might hate this movie. If you don't like character driven structure in films or fiction, then you won't like The Lobster because it's not a typical three act, plot driven film. You’ve been warned. Don't troll me with comments how you think it sucks, and I’m an idiot who only wants to have sex with Colin Farrell, and would love any film he was in even if all he did was sit in a chair doing nothing. Full disclosure, I do have a longtime intellectual crush on Colin Farrell, but don't know him and I don't know if I would or wouldn't date him. I think he's an underrated actor, an admirable father and advocate for children with special needs, intelligent, charming, was on numerous occasions generous and kind with the son of a friend, and yes he’s easy on the eyes. I don't rate movies based on my libido. I rate them on if I like them or not, and The Lobster is fucking great!
The Lobster is available to rent or own on Blue Ray, DVD, and Digital Download. It’s directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, and co-written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou. It stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly, Jessica Barden, Ariane Labed, Ashley Jensen, and Aggeliki Papoulia. The production company is A24
Note: This is the last post for Sept, 2016. Due to delays in posting, there were only 3 posts this month. Oct, 2016 posts will be dedicated to Halloween. Look for reviews of the films, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, and the classic, The Oblong Box, as well as the novel, Hex by Dutch author, Thomas Olde Heuvelt. The ongoing personal essay series on sexual abuse and addiction will continue in November. Happy Halloween!