by Hiko Mitsuzuka @TheFirstEcho
The Lobster, from "visionary" filmmaker and writer Yorgos Lanthimos, is an unapologetically absurdist film that might also be the darkest comedy in recent memory.
Colin Farrell plays David, a pathetic sad-sack who arrives at a very special countryside retreat where he must surrender his clothes and swap them for the blandest J.Crew uniform you've ever seen; it's almost like a boarding school for adults. He's a sad-sack because his wife left him for another man, and the retreat is "special" because it's the place where single people like David are assigned to meet a suitable mate within 45 days...or else they'll be turned into the animal of their choice (via a never-seen "Transformation Room") and released into the wild.
The audacious film, co-written by Efthimis Filippou, is set in an alternate universe in which the world imposes strict rules on love and romance, and Lanthimos treats the story with deadpan precision. Farrell, with a round belly and bushy mustache, certainly plays against type as David. And David's similarly single peers, perfectly played by John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw, are just as sad and hopeless. However, the entire film isn't just one, big Debbie Downer. It's more shocking than melancholy, and that's because we're witnessing a biting commentary on how our current society views and treats its single population. The Lobster treats its partnerless folk as lonely, incomplete beings who aren't achieving life's all-too-important goal: to fall in love and spend the rest of your life with your seemingly better half.
When David decides to escape the retreat and join a rebel faction called The Loners, the film dramatically switches gears, and their world becomes a little darker. It is here where he meets an enigmatic stranger played by Rachel Weisz (credited as Short-Sighted Woman) who helps him adjust to the wilderness in which they live and the risky missions they must take. Naturally, a connection is made, but it may be too late for a romance.
By the time the final act rolls around, things take a depressing turn, and you'll either be on board or off when the satire plunges into an abyss from which there is no return.
Either way, you'll come out of this movie looking at your own world a little differently, and isn't that a true sign of a great and refreshingly original film?
RATING: 4/5 stars