The Lobster Review

The Lobster

How much do you like shellfish?

I’m a big fan, but don’t think my love stretches as far as Colin Farrell’s in his twisted new film, The Lobster.

Set in the not too distant future, we join David on his way to some new kind of hotel.

Having recently been dumped by his wife, David has been shipped off to find a new a partner along with his brother.

Only thing being that his brother is now a dog

You see, in this future it’s illegal to be single – and as soon as your relationship ends, you get packed off to a bizarre hotel where you need to find a new love within 45 days.

And if you don’t, then it’s off to the transformation room with you where you’ll be turned into an animal of your choice.

David’s brother plumped for a faithful border collie, but Dave himself has decided lobsters are the thing for him; because they can live for a hundred years, they have blue blood – like nobility – and because David likes the ocean.

I hope he likes butter sauce too.

David is swiftly forced into all sort of surreal dating rituals with other folk at the hotel, as everyone desperately scrabbles around for a new love.

Will he succeed, or is his fate to be turned turned into a tasty yet noble crustacean?

The Lobster is a pitch black comedy from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, the man behind the lens for Dogtooth and Alps.

I haven’t seen any of Lanthimos’ previous films, but I’ll be sure to check out his back catalogue now.

Though strange, the premise of The Lobster is simple enough to pick up without having this explained to us, which means Lanthimos can get on with skewering the insanity behind the dating games we all play.

You know, doing things we wouldn’t usually do, pretending to be something or someone we’re not and faking nose bleeds to make that special someone believe you’re just like them… I mean, who hasn’t done these things whilst wooing a girl?

It’s all madness of course, but it’s also brilliantly funny as The Lobster holds up a mirror to the narcissistic nature of true love.

After all, aren’t most of us just looking for someone who’s the same shade of crazy as ourselves?

Colin Farrell is the acting glue that keeps The Lobster together, and he’s really gone method with his portrayal of David.

With a gut that puts mine to shame, Farrell has made some real sacrifices for his art here – not that he’ll get the acclaim Bale, Fassbender, McConaughey, et al do though, because people don’t think of the irish chancer that way.

But I do Colin, and you’re bloody funny in this too.

Rachel Weisz plays his eventual love interest, and there’s a terrific ensemble cast featuring Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly amongst others.

The third act fizzles out a bit, as is often the case with comedies, and the Sopranos style climax let’s you decide what ending you want from the film.

But there’s no denying the originality or deadpan brilliance of The Lobster.

And if anyone’s interested, I’ll be turning myself into a tiger.

Jonathan Campbell

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October 2015
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