“The Lobster”, A Perfect Dark Masterpiece Hiding A Love Story

By Scott Kurland
Film: The Lobster
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly, Michael Smiley, and Oliva Colman
Rated R
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

 Something I made clear last year with the release of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” was my love for Dystopian films. I love seeing a future where technology, an invasion, or society itself has lead to the downfall of the human race. What I love about more recent films is “the new dystopia”. “The new dystopia” is this Orwell-esque dream/nightmare (depending on how you look at it), where technology or the government has found a way to create a regulated utopia. We saw it work in “HER,” where everyone's OS that had AI in order to create a more efficient  lifestyle. This week’s film “The Lobster” shows “the new dystopia” in a unique light. Let’s see if it’s any good shall we?

“The Lobster” is set in the not too distant future where ones life is determined through coupling. In order to be a decent member of society, you must be in a relationship (i.e. dating, engaged, or married). If you are single you are sent to a hotel, where you have forty-five days to find a mate. If you are unsuccessful, you are turned into an animal of your choosing and offered a second chance at finding love with another animal. The hotel is where we meet our protagonist David (Colin Farrell), who is starting to realize that the hotel might not be his best coarse of action. There's one problem. If David doesn’t find a partner soon, he’ll be turned into a lobster.

Director and screenwriter Yorgos Lanthimos has crafted one of the most intriguing and beautiful dark comedies I have ever seen. “The Lobster” is such a brilliant comment on how the world sees relationships. If you’re in a relationship, you are seen as someone who is able to function in society. If you are single, then odds are there is something wrong with you. In Lanthimos's world, single people live in the woods and are seen as anarchists who must be hunted down, or forced into relationships. Like the film “HER”, Yorgos takes one of the craziest ideas possible and makes it seem quite logical. The argument for turning people into animals in the hopes finding love is crazy, but how they execute their position is strangely convincing. Yorgos Lanthimos’ previous films “Alps” and “Dogtooth” have also been this weird breed of drama and heart. His direction is reminiscent of a young Stanley Kubrick as Lanthimos takes the mundane and makes it sublime.

Besides the direction, “The Lobster” works on so many levels whether it’s the performances, the dialog or the exposition from the script written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippo. “The Lobster” was written by two Greek filmmakers, but the dialog has a very dry British wit behind it. All the characters over-explain their maladies and imperfections which the audience mistakes as being for their benefit. It feels as if the over explanation is to catch us up and clue us into their world, but it’s not. Every character is socially awkward and divulges too much information so the other person listening can decide if they are worth the time to invest in. What Lanthimos and Filippo have done is quite clever. What would appear as an over-correction is secretly a plot device. I hope come award season this script is remembered for a nomination for best original screenplay.

There’s so much in this film that works, and its entirely way too much to talk about. However, I must discuss the performances from the three leads: Farrell, Wiesz, and Seydoux. When Colin Farrell started his career in the early 2000's everyone thought he was this Irish pretty boy. Yet with the release of films like “In Bruges”, “Crazy Heart”, and “Saving Mr. Banks,” he’s proven he’s far more than a pretty face. Once again, Farrell shows us how gifted he is as David. David is a very simple, lost individual who has overcome his own fate and is sort of an anomaly in this barbaric society. Farrell’s performance is so good that it helps compliment Wiesz and Seydoux. Seydoux is proving to be an actress worth casting in everything. Need a femme fatale? Get Lea Seydoux. Need a beautiful kind-hearted French girl? Get Seydoux. Need a diabolical sociopath to lead a group of loners in the woods?Well... you see where this is going. Finally there’s Rachel Weisz, and all I'll shall say is that she’s perfect in everything. She could save a remake of “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. 

“The Lobster”, is one of my favorite films of 2016 so far. It’s so bizarre and lovely that it must be seen by an audience. Not everyone will like this film because when it’s dark it is super dark. When it’s funny though, it’s very funny. “The Lobster” is one of the best love stories to come out of recent years. “The Lobster” is a well oiled machine that is a clear example of what great filmmakers can achieve when given the chance to prove themselves. This is a must see film.