Movie review of “The Lobster”: This parody of our coupling obsession stars Colin Farrell as a man who must meet a mate in 45 days or be turned into a lobster. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
Does anything break through the glum satire and unremitting deadpan that cover “The Lobster” like the gray Irish skies hovering over it?
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English-language film begins with a distraught woman driving through the rain. She gets out on a remote plain, walks up to a donkey and shoots it right in the face. It’s a brutal announcement of the absurdity to come. This is a film for neither lovers nor animal lovers.
In “The Lobster,” a “Saturday Night Live” sketch carried out with the severity of Antonioni, singlehood is outlawed. The lonely and divorced are rounded up in white vans and brought to a country resort where they have 45 days to meet a mate or they will then be turned into an animal of their choosing.
Movie Review ★★½
‘The Lobster,’ with Colin Farrell, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, from a screenplay by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou. 118 minutes. Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, and some violence. Several theaters.
Rules include that volleyball and tennis courts are reserved for couples only, and that crossbreeding species — a wolf and a penguin, a camel and a hippo — isn’t allowed. “That would be absurd,” says the hotel manager (Olivia Colman).
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The style here is at once gleefully bonkers and grimly banal. Though “The Lobster” has been called a dystopia, there are no fantastical elements besides its extreme conceit, a savage parody of our coupling obsession.
David (Colin Farrell) is brought to the hotel after his wife leaves him. Should he fail, he chooses a lobster, he explains, because they will live over 100 years, are blue-blooded “like aristocrats” and stay fertile all their lives. “I also like the sea very much,” he says.
If all of this didn’t yet sound strange enough, there’s also an arch, literary narration (Rachel Weisz, who turns up later) and heavy jabs of Beethoven and Shostakovich throughout.
A large part of the entertainment of “The Lobster” comes from marveling at a director having the audacity to stretch such absurdity so far until, well, there’s Farrell’s character kicking a child.