The Lobster (2015)
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The setting is a bleak, tightly controlled hotel on the coast of Ireland. David (Colin Farrell), a recently divorced Architect, is given 40 days to find a partner or else be transformed into an animal of his choosing; in this case, a lobster. Sound strange? That's just the first 10 minutes. Guests of the hotel are subjected to routine trips to shoot 'loners' with tranquillisers, and awkward high-school dances to entice singles to mingle. As David's days start running out, he decides to feign common interest with a heartless woman in order to escape his fate. But can he pull it off?
Farrell really hits the mark with this role, displaying awkward machismo and fragile humility in equal measure. His comedic timing is matched only by his supporting cast that includes John C. Reilly, Ashley Jensen, and Olivia Coleman. Rachel Weisz is also spot-on as the short-sighted woman.
The Lobster has just about everything you'd want from a film. It's unpredictable, it's offbeat, and it's laugh-out-loud funny. But it's most impressive feature is the subtext - it manages to reflect how odd our own modern-day social pressures are. How loneliness is feared, how individuality loses out to the mainstream system, and how relationships have to be deemed 'legitimate' by some higher order. There's plenty to talk about with this film, and I'll definitely be seeing it again to delve a little deeper....
The story centres around one man, played by Colin Farrell, as he attempts to find a partner as a part of this bizarre system. The first act revolves around his time in 'The Hotel', and is not only hugely odd, but both dramatic and unnerving as well as hilarious to watch, featuring some of the best dark comedy written in years.
The film takes its story as seriously as any drama, and you feel that through the deeply disturbing atmosphere that emerges off the screen. However, as the film is just so weird, it eases you into the oddness of it all very impressively through the use of humour, something that more pretentious art-house films fail to do, and are resultantly a lot harder to really get into.
So, you'll definitely be laughing a lot, if not in a more disturbed than hugely entertained manner, throughout the first act, and by the end of it, you'll surely be as used as you can be to the incredibly weird feel of this whole film.
Just to give you an idea of how unorthodox this film is, every scene is full of awkward silences, the actors speak as if they're reading off of cue cards with no emotion whatsoever, the imagery is very ugly and unpleasant to look at right the way through, and the incredible slow pace of it all means that the film feels like it goes on for about five times as long as it actually does.
And yet, I still can't get around the fact that this is a brilliant film. Mainly, it's the fact that it's just so unique and almost shockingly bizarre, but it's just filled with so many captivating ideas that it's impossible not to be fully drawn into this insane story.
So, the performances, the directing, the writing, and pretty much everything is stunning, apart from one big issue that prevents this from being a truly incredible film. Following the end of the first act, the film does lose its way quite a lot, taking almost too big a leap into an even stranger abyss than you ever imagined at the beginning, and, with a little less humour in the latter stages, isn't as easy to watch as the first act had been.
However, it does pick up again towards a terrifying and as bizarre as ever conclusion, and that's why I'm going to give The Lobster a 9 out of 10, but I must warn you that if you feel you can't cope with this film for longer than the first twenty minutes, then it's not for you. This is definitely a cult film for the ages, but won't be a big hit with general audiences.
Set in a dystopian future, The Lobster presents a world in which single people are arrested & taken to a hotel where they are obliged to find a matching partner within 45 days or they are transformed into animals & released into the woods. The plot follows David who arrives at the hotel for the same reason but his endeavours of finding a mate before his time is over ends far more tragically than he expected.
Co-written & directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster marks his English-language debut and the idea & inspiration behind it is both clever & admirable. The sequences taking place in the hotel are nicely carried out but its second half lacks the same level of creativity that's present in the first half. The excitement goes missing once the protagonist leaves the hotel and from there on, it just limps throughout its remaining runtime.
The hotel is neatly maintained but it also has a creepy vibe about it. Camera movements are fluid, colour hues wonderfully compliment its overcast ambiance and lighting seems natural for the most part. Editing allows the plot to unfold at an unhurried pace but the whole story feels twice as long because of that, with no idea of where it's headed. Last, the background score is just as odd as the story's content and is intermittently utilised.
Coming to the performances, The Lobster features a fine cast in Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw & John C. Reilly and most of them are simply bland & lifeless in their respective roles. It can be argued that the spiritless rendition of these scripted people was deliberate but it doesn't really help in enriching the experience, at all. The deadpan wit is occasionally amusing but it's also too easy to get frustrated by whatever is happening.
On an overall scale, The Lobster is an uncanny mix of bizarre ideas that, in its effort to play with multiple things at once, may end up drifting many of its viewers. While I found nothing lovable about it, its parody of the society that gives way too much credit to companionship, in addition to the dig it takes at those match-making algorithms which rely on similar traits & likeness factor is one aspect I liked but in all seriousness, The Lobster is too mediocre to be of any significance.
I try not to explain the film's plot when somebody asks, so as not to completely dissuade them from viewing. Maybe this ridiculous concept is in reference to how ridiculous forcing someone to fall in love due to common interests is, or even just forcing someone to eventually get married, a practice common in the modern world. A comment on the societal pressures put on single adults. There are constant references and reminders to how even numbers are perfect, a couple. There is a further commentary on applying limiting labels and boxes to people, bisexual not being an option on the sexuality question, no half-sized shoes.
Collin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, along with the many minor characters, all add to the film greatly. There are no weak actors which I could point out. The screen writing can be fast and witty at times, but I felt the ''quirkiness'' was definitely overdone. The robotic and monotonous speech pattern was generally funny but also overdone.
I have spoken to many people who do not enjoy this film, and I can definitely respect and understand their opinion. The Lobster is not for everyone, with it's strange plot, writing and imagery. It's script is similar to that of a Wes Anderson film, but still remains very dark, and at times, disturbing. It is without a doubt, a slow film, heavily reliant on dialogue (which many people won't even find funny).
I would recommend the film to people who enjoy quirky films such as Frank, Juno or The Grand Budapest Hotel, although The Lobster is definitely darker than those examples.
Probably one of the strangest film I've ever watched.
The first part of the film is amusing, quirky and entertaining. The style is pleasant and interesting, despite some nasty moments. Some of the shots drag a little, but it adds to the curious atmosphere. The dry, deadpan dialogue is perfectly delivered, Colin Farrell as the main protagonist shows he really is a fine actor.
Then the film changes. New characters are introduced and the mood becomes much bleaker. No longer is this humorous, the stakes have changed. It is hard to identify with the new characters as we had already invested emotion in the earlier ones. And it gets worse, leading to en ending that is as unclear as it is unpleasant.
The Lobster cannot seem to make up its mind what kind of a film it is, is it simply saying that we are all venal and craven in the end? If so, why the humour at the beginning? And if we are capable of love, is it really so shallow as to be broken by people saying things?
I loved the beginning, I didn't like the end. This was one fish dish that left a bad taste.
First, if the movie had been short, maybe it would have been bearable, maybe, as it stands, its length goes to show, at least for me, that there was not a compass that guided the director, this was a rudderless attempt at social commentary. I don't care if Mr Lanthimos is considered the plus ultra of directors, this is bad.
The movie tries to match absurdism with social commentary, but fails to create a world in which A) the absurd seems plausible and B) the plausible seems absurd. The deadpan, flat delivery of the lines loses all power after the first 30 minutes of the 1h 58m this thing goes on for and the humour, again, always spurred on by the absurdity of the moment/comment/observation, fails to find me (as it failed to find the funny bone of most people in a packed, large movie theatre in London, in fact, first movie I've gone to see in ages where people began to leave the cinema half-way, which I longingly followed with my eyes wishing it was me).
The cinematography is fine, nothing out of the ordinary, but Lanthimos fails to use it to punctuate the absurd moments (something Wes Anderson does very well, as does Paolo Sorrentino) nor is the dramatism enhanced by precise camera work (Hitchcock, Fellini, Truffaut). The dialogue, even in its supposed absurdist nature, is poor, fails to weave across and is uneven. While the leads do a super job, the characters are flat and I don't care for them or what happens to them, which is always a bad sign for me.
There are moments when this thing is good, like the hotel managers singing a duet, but they do not translate across the whole story, mainly because very quickly we leave the only part where there are interesting characters and spend the rest of the movie in the forest.
I found the movie:
-Too long -Pretentious without the grace to be so -flat -Uninspiring -did I say too long? -A convoluted way to tell a story that could have been told with the same intent in less time, with more observant, astute dialogue and far better crafted cinematography -A depressing experience -Not funny, by miles
Having just seen for the first time 'The Great Beauty' followed by 'The Royal Tenenbaums' I realized now what The 'Lobster' could have been but did not have the artistic currency to do. The social commentary is there, no doubt, I just did not like how it was executed.
Maybe I am just a heathen with no taste...but of course, these are my impressions, I know others who truly loved it, and that is good too.
This is more than a poor movie, it is an in-your-face, full frontal assault to any sense of moral and intellectual value. No compass whatever. In a poor movie I can find redeeming value --- a comfortable seat, some popcorn and maybe a little sleep. This was too terrible to nap although I've never wanted to close my eyes so hard.
Gratuitous violence with un-deeming value includes (CAUTION HERE): Donkey getting shot. Dog kicked to death with image of dog's intestines on floor. Person bound and dropped into open grave with dogs to devour face (dogs have collars on?). Hand forced into toaster. Lips getting sliced with razor blade. Forced (and optional?) blindness.
A unique movie but only by way of its horrorableness.
In the imagined words of Nurse Ratched this is "The perfect movie for the cinemaly insane."
This is a very odd movie. People speak in awkward sentences as though the dialogue was written by someone who specializes in English as a second language instructional audio tapes. The basic premise (single people must quickly become coupled or they will be turned into animals) is never explained, meaning it's not really dystopian fiction but just absurdist drama, and as that it's not that interesting.
It's a very unpleasant movie. People do awful things, but no one is horrified; the movie is, perhaps, about how numb people are to the tragedies of the world, but for me, it was just a weird mix of disturbing, detached, and dull.
From what I've read, some people find this movie really funny. I found almost nothing about it funny. Or interesting.
After we gave up, we did check out the synopsis on wikipedia to find out how it all turned out. That convinced us we'd made the right decision.
If you like dark, arty, abstract, emotionally distant satire, you might like this.
And I know I'm taking the risk of getting a lot of thumbs down from people who could take what this movie dished out -- specifically, people who could take it, and think others should take it too, without any warning.
These people might argue that the intention of the movie is to lure you in with false expectations, then spring the nasty stuff on you, and that your upset reaction is acceptable, because the film is deliberately designed to "shock" you that way. I disagree.
If someone makes a movie that has both comedy and horror elements (torture, mutilation, etc.), it is dishonest to make a trailer out of only the quirky and funny scenes.
This is a cruel and ugly movie. From the beginning, it is gray and grim, with the exact kind of depressing music that Americans expect from arty foreign films. But very quickly, it becomes clear that the film is worse than that.
The trailer makes it seem like a fun and quirky movie, maybe something like Being John Malcovich. I suppose it is, during the "funny" parts. But in my opinion, that is overshadowed by the other nasty things that happen in this movie.
The movie tries to make points in its "dark satire," but they are pretty similar to points that were covered a lot less painfully in, for example, "But I'm a Cheerleader." The director's agenda seems to stem from his own miserable world view. Forget the fantasy element of the movie's premise; he has his own fantasy in which far too high a percentage of the world is capable of murder, torture, body mutilation and so on.
I'm hoping this review will help others like me avoid the movie. I tried to scan the RottenTomatoes page to get a sense of what I could expect from the movie, but I basically walked away with "The Lobster is definitely an acquired taste -- but for viewers with the fortitude to crack through Yorgos Lanthimos' offbeat sensibilities, it should prove a savory cinematic treat." This is not the case, and it is not a fair summary. Sprinkling a few drops of battery acid into your "savory cinematic treat" completely offsets the value of whatever other ingredients you've included.
I hope people will go into this movie armed with more knowledge than I had.
The rest of the film is so boring, the title of the movie could actually be "The Boring Movie". Nothing really happens in the entire film so it may easily carry this title.
Artsy fartsy is the common description here, including direction, acting, casting....you name it, it's horrible, cheap and uninspiring in any way possible.
They probably thought the audience would find this idea surrounded by waves of boredom interesting. In some sort of weird way. Unfortunately this is not film making, it's called sleeping in our chairs while this film plays on.
If this didn't have Colin Farrell in it, you would probably never have watched it anyways. Farrell gives a solid performance I really liked it, but he looked totally out of place, given the terrible soundtrack and co-casting. I recommend this film to be made again from scratch with Farrell and a much better crew, it could be made much much better.
Hell, maybe it's based on some personal loss. Or it's some peculiar fable over the current European refugee crisis or something. Admirable, in such case. Don't get me wrong. I'm fine with fables, it has its own beautiful tradition and storytelling raison d'être. But you need to at least believe in the scenario for the duration. If you fail at that, your point is lost to people. There's no discernible reason as to why it's so life-or-death important, that people of this civilization has to be paired, otherwise they get killed because they're "loners." Or why pairs has to share interests, otherwise they have to split up and then they get killed. It's a completely bizarre construct, you can only imagine came up during a talentless script session. "This is how we make something, that'll stand out. 'Cause we're artists, we are, we are!"
Sometimes a crappy film is worth the time just for the laugh. Not here, you just feel sad for people acting in it. No actor should be subjected to such a naked emperor. If it didn't have another chap's name on it, you'd think it was a Lars Trier pile of poo. This is the kind of stuff Monty Python justly mocked. Not even unsolicited graphic sex scenes can save this junk. I smell razzies so much it hurts. I smell an A list actor quickly going B or worse.
Spoiler: The ending is.
I like all kinds of movies, but...
...having a dog get brutally beaten to death in your film just for effect isn't art, it's just sick.
This is one of very few movies I left wishing I had never seen. Might have been of passing interest as a short film. There's simply not enough of substance or style in this movie to begin to justify the (unpleasant) experience of watching it.
The Lobster follows David (Colin Farrel) in a society where it is unacceptable to be single. When David's wife leaves him he is sent to The Hotel where he has 45 days to find a partner. If he finds one - awesome. If he fails, he will be turned into an animal. Of his choice, naturally.
It's stylish, it's got technique, it's disorienting (in a good way), it asks questions about us and doesn't really care about hearing our answers. It instills within you the great sense of uneasiness that the characters must feel in this collection of increasingly odd situations through stilted, brutally frank dialogue in a masterclass of a script. The performances, also, are stunning. I was pleasantly surprised by Rachel Weisz in her subtly moving role as the Short Sighted Woman.
Having watched it no more than five hours ago, I find myself recalling it as if it was a dream. The carefully considered combination of editing and cinematography gives the feature that lifted, slightly angled and unaligned feel. Its world presents itself to you in a disembodied kind of way and, in the way you may leave your bed after a dream, you will leave the cinema questioning everything about it.
I can honestly say The Lobster has entered the ranks of my favourite films. Go and catch this while it's still in cinemas - the critically thirsty mind will not remain unquenched.
If this is supposed to be about. . . conformity, resistance to authority, love even . . . I can think of more appealing ways to deal with those subjects.
"Captures the nature of love in the 21st century." Seriously? If that's what love is, don't let it anywhere near me!
Like Youth, this is just another case of letting myself be influenced by critics raving about a movie, and then suffering through the entire thing waiting for something redeeming to happen, if only in my own mind, only to be disappointed in the end. In this case, sorely disappointed.
Why I occasionally waste two hours at a time on drivel like this escapes me.
Indeed any cultural import this digital decadence may tenuously have is that it itself is symptomatic of a nihilistic post-modern anomie, the lost world of the religiosity of the self, where just because you have idea everyone must be burdened by it. In the words of chairman Mao "just because you break wind, doesn't mean I have to sniff it"
This facile confused dystopian narrative can only be compared to some over-indulgent self-absorbed up its own solipsistic end of year Art Show; if Tracy Emmmin made movies even she wouldn't make this. Well maybe?
Be warned even watching a Benny Cumberbatch period drama wont clear out the detritus of this movie from your psyche as your fatigued mind tries to piece this nonsense together for the "cult" director. In fact I'd rather join a cult and deal with that psychological fall-out than the trite banalities I was subjected to in the dark by this nonsense.
Even the sound track on its own drives you to distraction and in all likelihood to a migraine. The violence of the film is random and brutal; which was ironic as I chose it instead of going to the latest Bond romp because I was not in the mood for stylised violence. Believe me that was the only irony I experienced during this film
I confess the only reasons I stuck it out was that I am a tight fisted Scotsman who will get his money's worth, even if that is just sitting in a warm cinema; that it was an art house cinema and I figured that sometimes you have to suffer for that kind of indulgence and lastly I had a forlorn hope that there might be a disclaimer at the end apologising for the waste of my life and high jacking my psyche and that I might be able to claim some kind of refund on the grounds of diminished responsibility in the face of directorial indulgence, at least that would have been the decent thing, cause I sure as hell would not have done this to him.
My worry though dear reader is, you read this review and it might encourage the curious to go see. That is what the so-called premise of the film did to me; believe me it doesn't even hold it own.
If you have to see this movie then treat it like you are going to see a brutal car accident in slow motion that will require to be enacted in your head accompanied by a relentless jarring sound track forever!
Or you can save yourself the sheer monotonous pain and let me take the bullet for you.
On a lighter note the film is so bad that the ridiculous stultifying dialogue and direction actually make Colin Farrell look like he is actually acting, so good type casting there!
Now if you think I have been indulgent you haven't seen this, whatever this is?