The Lobster review: 'a peculiar offering but it’s also a smart, funny and truly original effort that plays by its own rules'
If you can’t be with the one you love… you get turned into a donkey.
That’s the set-up here, folks. Sort of. Surprisingly, despite its dark and deliciously offbeat premise of a dystopian future — in which single people are checked in to a hotel and given a month-and-a-half to find their perfect match before they’re transformed into an animal of their choice — Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English-language film, The Lobster, is, nonetheless, an unnerving and thoroughly accessible piece of work.
It follows the hapless and bookish David (a beguiling Colin Farrell, with specs and paunch) who ends up checking in to the aforementioned hotel with his dog (formerly his brother) after his wife leaves him for another man (keep up down the back). Time is running out, and David makes plenty of mates, but no girlfriends.
Eventually, after his attempts to fake his way into a lasting relationship go horribly wrong, David ends up out in the woods, swapping one tribe for another as he joins ‘the Loners’ (led by the creepy Lea Seydoux) in their quest to rebel against society’s wicked matchmaking laws.
It’s all kinds of messed up, and when David befriends a short-sighted stranger (a terrific Rachel Weisz, who is also our narrator), things get weirder. Oh, and David’s back-up plan was to be transformed into a lobster, in case you were wondering.
Largely shot in and around Dublin and Kerry, Lanthimos’ film is a peculiar offering, indeed. It’s also a smart, funny and truly original effort that plays by its own rules, with The Lobster’s eerie and creative follow-through tipping its hat to Hitchcock, Kubrick and — in one beautifully realised slow-dance sequence — the great Nick Cave.
Farrell and Weisz spark off of one another, delivering a convincing and rather touching on-screen partnership, and who would have thought that one of the best closing scenes in a sci-fi flick this year would have been shot at Joel’s Restaurant on the Naas Road?
Imagine that. A cracking film.
Sci-Fi/Drama. Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, John C Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman. Director: Yorgos Lanthimos. Cert: 15A