“The Lobster” Fantasizes About Relationships
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Re member “The Prisoner,” that surreal TV show about a man (Number Six) being held captive in a strange village without understanding the charges? Somewhat Kafka-esque. “The Lobster” has a touch of that absurd paranoia.
In this new sci-fi comedy we find a dystopian world where people must have a romantic partner, else be turned into an animal and set loose in the forest. Anyone without a mate is taken to a hotel where he or she has 45 days to match up. Otherwise, off they go.
After his wife runs off with another man, David (Colin Farrell) gets sent to the hotel. He takes along his dog, who used to be his brother.
Hotel Manager: “Now have you thought of what animal you’d like to be if you end up alone?”
David: “Yes. A lobster.”
Hotel Manager: “Why a lobster?”
David: “Because lobsters live for over one hundred years, are blue-blooded like aristocrats, and stay fertile all their lives. I also like the sea very much.”
At the hotel David doesn’t have much luck at hooking up, despite the dances, propaganda films, and stimulation by the hotel maid. So he makes an escape, joining a band of Loners. There he meets Short Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz) to whom he’s attracted. The irony here is that as a citizen he must become a couple, but as a Loner he must hide a relationship. What to do?
“It’s one of the main things that we’re preoccupied with in life -- relationships and love,” says Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos.
As weird as “The Lobster” might sound, it won the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Even Bob the Dog won a prize.
This is Lanthimos’s first English-language feature-length film. It’s currently showing at Tropic Cinema.
Lanthimos, the Oscar-nominated director of “Dogtooth” and “Alps,” likes to do movies about characters pushing the boundaries that surround them.
“I think I did want to make a romantic film,” Lanthimos says. “I’m not sure if it was intentional from the very beginning, but I’m sure somewhere while writing the script it became intentional. I wanted it to have a real love story … In any case, I would never make a film that was only one thing. Even if it’s my warmest, most romantic film, I still want it to have the more cynical view of things, showing the irony and absurdity of things that we consider normal.”
He certainly does that.