Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Michael Smiley, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, Jessica Barden, Ashley Jensen
Seen on: 15.2.2015
David (Colin Farrell) was recently divorced. As a single person, he has to check into the Hotel and find a new suitable partner in 45 days. If he doesn’t, he will be turned into an animal – like his brother was turned into a dog – and if nobody is there to take him in, he will be set loose in the woods surrounding the Hotel. So David tries to find somebody who is like him, but that’s easier said than done.
My history with Lanthimos’ movies has been mixed so far but The Lobster might be his best film yet. It’s certainly his most accessible film, although it is still very, very weird and not easy to get into, and my personal favorite.
The world of The Lobster is definitely a weird one, in many aspects. And that people are turned into animals is one of the least weird things about it. More than in his other movies, Lanthimos uses that weirdness for comic effect: the animals that are just walking around in the background, the performance of the hotel manager (Olivia Colman) and her partner as well as the instructions the hotel guests receive and much more.
But the film is not content with letting you laugh freely at the absurdity. Instead every time laughter rises to the surface, a slap in the face isn’t far off, ready make you choke on the laughter. And while that is super cynical and depressing, the film is also naive and hopeful in a way, leaving you with an open ending that refuses to make the decision whether this unjust world ruins everything or whether love conquers all, even if not without any scars. That back and forth gives the movie a fascinating and engaging atmosphere, adding a little more strangeness to the unusual world.
Colin Farrell, cast against type much to his advantage (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, if you don’t rely on his pretty face but actually give him things to do, he’s usually great), is great as David, the perfect center of the film, seemingly completely normal (by the standards of our world – he is the only person who gets a name, for example) but also perfectly accepting of how things are in his world. He’s a reluctant rebel, just as Rachel Weisz’ Short-Sighted Woman is reluctant to give up her rebellion.
I’m still undecided about how the film deals with disabilities (in particular blindness). In fact, I would like to dissect that in a little more detail than a single viewing allows. Maybe I can write a paper on it sometime. It is certainly a film I wouldn’t mind going back to and examining more closely – and that’s already a very good sign about a film. Your mileage may vary and I could understand if you couldn’t get into the film at all, but personally, I enjoyed it a whole lot.