Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Lobster (2015)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer:    Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast:       Colin Farrell, Rachel Wiesz, Olivia Colman, Jessica Barden, John C. Reilly

In a dystopian near future , single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged  to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or else are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. 

As highlighted in the synopsis, three places of importance in the film are The City, The Hotel and The Woods. The film begins with Colin Farrell, a recently divorced guy, getting transported and checked into The Hotel. We learn over the course of the film that 'The City' is only for people with partners and 'The Hotel' is a place where a chance is given for single people to find a partner and move back  into the city. Over the 45 days in the hotel they are occasionally taken into the woods where they can hunt single people with tranquilizer guns. These are people who have escaped from the hotel and ran away out of fear of being turned into animals. Colin Farrell's character is also forced to go into hiding after a relationship he develops in the hotel breaks down. The Loner/Single people in the woods take him in after warning him about the strict rules that they have to prevent people from partnering up,which includes strict punishments for flirting. They are allowed to dance strictly alone and to electronic music, which is the only kind of music allowed (I love electronic music). 

I have seen many people complaining about not understanding what is going on in the film. It is a laugh out loud comedy which satirizes both the pathetic courting techniques employed by many people while pursuing their potential partners as well as the superiority that is sometimes exhibited by single people who make it seem as if they are single by choice. To be fair, both groups have a habit of looking down on the people in the other camp and the film pokes fun at both of these camps. During large periods of human history, being single is considered a stigma from the societal point of view and it is only during modern times that the so-called independence that it affords started getting accepted. The film depicts a scenario where the society has fallen back to a time where attitude is very harsh towards single people. I found the film to be quite straight forward in terms figuring out its meaning and is enormously funny. These kind of films often become a struggle for the audience to watch once the novelty associated with the setting of its universe starts to wear thin. The Lobster manages quite well on that regard, as things are revealed very gradually only with the director respecting audience's intelligence, even though the ending is kind of weak. 

To sum up, it is a great film with plenty of laughs despite its rather tame and lazy ending. I wouldn't say that it is a dark comedy since most of the laughs in it are from pretty straight forward satire, unlike Yorgos Lanthimos' previous Greek film- Dogtooth. Dogtooth was a film that divided audience but even those who hated it might end up liking 'The Lobster'. Performances from the stellar cast is excellent, like you would expect, and the film is set in Scotland, I guess. We get a mustached Colin Farrell in the film and it must have been shot ahead of True Detective Season Two. 

Rating: 4.5/5