Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Film: 'The Lobster'

Way beyond being merely 'odd', this is the most bizarre film I've seen in quite some years.
It's the world the characters inhabit rather than the goings-on themselves that makes it strange. Very funny in patches (particularly in the first half as we learn how this 'world' operates), it won't carry everyone along with it, but I liked it on the whole.

Some critics have described this British-Irish production as being set in a dystopian future but I think it's more in an alternative social setting in which the rules of living have been shifted sideways, rather than it being science-fiction futuristic.

Colin Farrell (right, above - almost unrecognisable, having also put on weight for the part), is a recently widowed, rather timid, man who, now being single, has to attend a strange hotel (managed by a steely Olivia Colman) and given 45 days to form a genuine relationship with another of the attendees (bisexuality is not recognised. You're either hetero- or homo-) or he'll be classed as an undesirable 'loner' and turned out into the woods to become one of those hunted down by those still in their trial period, and eventually be changed into any animal of his choice - in his case this being a lobster. (He gives the reason for opting for this creature early in the film) The drive behind the first part of the film is his attempt to avoid the fate of becoming one of these dreaded loners.
In the hotel, two of his 'co-guests' are Ben Whishaw (who seems to be in every second film these days, and with 'Spectre' just coming up as well. I'm not complaining.) and John C. Reilly, here disappointingly under-used. Then the action moves to the woods where he meets up with Rachel Weisz, also attempting to survive as a prey-target of the regular hunts.

This film, stretched a bit too long at close on two hours, has a number of disturbing moments and  gets bleaker towards the end. Throughout, though, there are peculiar and unexpected one-liners which, when funny are really so, that I was wondering how the actors could keep a straight face while delivering them. (I ought to mention also that there are two or three instances of deaths of animals that made me flinch, the first occurring within the very first minute, though none of them are prolonged.)

This is Greek director and joint writer, Yorgos Lanthimos', first English-language film and he makes a good job of it. If there are a few moments of ennui they all come in the second half but otherwise he keep a tight rein.The first hour or so is excellent.

If you like to see a film that's a bit strange and more than being just quirky, I'm sure you'll like this one....................7.


  1. I like a strange film, and i like my Colin, even with a few extra pounds, though i doubt this will come anywhere near Smallville.

    1. I thought that the appearance of Mr Farrell would attract you to this, Bob, though here he's the antithesis of the 'naughty boy stud' he so often appears as, which I also like. But I dare say you're right in thinking that this is unlikely to get a wide screening, especially beyond these shores. Pity as it's an 'off-the beaten-track' production of more than just curiosity value.