Into the woods, into the woods
Trying to describe The Lobster to anyone who has not seen the trailer is an arduous task. The flick is best described as a sci-fi romantic dramedy; who knew that combo even existed? In a dystopian world, single residents of the City are either sent to the woods or the Hotel. In the woods, romance is banned. Living at the Hotel is like a terrible reality dating show. Single people have 44 days to find a partner. If they fail, they are turned into an animal of their choice; protagonist David (Colin Farrell) chooses a lobster. Guests can prolong their stay by hunting loners in the woods with tranquilizer guns.
The whole affair is very absurdist, like a work of bizarro fiction minus the grotesquerie. Actors as appealing as Farrell, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Ashley Jensen (“Extras,” “Ugly Betty” and Amazon’s must see “Catastrophe”) and Rachel Weisz make director Yorgos Lanthimos’ job—constructing an equally humorous and terrifying new world generated from left and right swipes—that much easier. The Lobster tickles the funny bone and piques viewer curiosity throughout its compelling first act. Questions abound; though few are answered, enough of the world’s structure becomes clear.
While Farrell’s good looks led to several failed attempts at movie stardom, it’s character roles like The Lobster at which he excels. Though, once David leaves the Hotel, the film gets a bit lost in the woods. Weisz is a treat, though her voiceover was ill-conceived. Lanthimos is a talent to be watched, and his oddball movie deserved its Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, despite staying past its checkout time.