Review - The Lobster
'The Lobster' might be the oddest film I've seen yet this year, I'm not kidding. Honestly though, once you hear the premise you'll understand why.
The film follows David (Colin Farrell) who's wife has left him for another man. This is unfortunate because in this alternate world you must find a partner, otherwise by law you must be transformed into an animal. He's sent to a resort of sorts where other singles reside. They all have a chance to find someone else to save them from becoming an animal.
Greek director, Yorgos Lanthimos, weaves a darkly comic yarn that has some effective dramatic beats as well. The flick has a really great first half; it's filled with intriguing interactions that are by definition human, but feel very alien. The second half is still good, but loses some of the oddly dark yet quaint quirkiness that was so enjoyable about what came before. Sadly, as the film progresses, it tells you less and less about the intriguing world you only want to learn more about, devolving a bit into an escape film of sorts. That's not to say it's bad in any way, it's actually quite good, I just left wishing they had done more with such a promising concept.
The film is called 'The Lobster' because that is the animal David (Farrell) picks to become if he doesn't find a partner. Colin Farrell's off-kilter performance is one of the best things about the film. As you get to know David he at first seems kind of pathetic, but the more I watched I began to realize that he's actually kind of a mastermind survivalist and a great read of character. I found this engaging because he puts on this facade that makes him look and seem a bit pathetic and it was really fun to watch how he wriggled his way in and out of problems. David's survivalist nature is actually cleverly set up right from the beginning as he states that; "lobsters live for over 100 years, are blue-blooded like aristocrats, and stay fertile all their lives. I also like the sea very much.".
This is another film from A24; a film production company that has been gaining some serious critical cred and has drawn in some big-name actors that have taken notice to their high-quality reputation. 'The Lobster' is definitely no slouch in the cast department either. As mentioned before, Colin Farrell plays the lead, David. The film also stars Rachel Weisz as a potential love interest; she's really good in this and demonstrates some great dead-pan comedic timing that I didn't know she was capable of before. John C. Reilly also has a small role as one of David's friends that he meets in the resort, and he lights up the mood every time he's on-screen. The film also stars Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas) and Lea Seydoux (Spectre) who are also both good in the film.
The story has a very strong premise that makes for a great first half, I love how this film peels back the layers of its world in subtle and often-comical ways. I definitely enjoyed the time spent at the resort the most and almost wish the film had taken place their entirely. That brings me to the second half which definitely has it's moments, but it isn't quite as unique or engaging. Sure, that's where the bulk of the action happens and there's some of the goofiest yet adorable romance to be witnessed here as well. That being said, I was perfectly content with just watching David be David as he navigated his way through the resort. The end is also the very definition of anti-climactic and leaves a bunch of questions still dangling in the air.
Aesthetically, this film gets just about everything right, it's shot beautifully on location in Dublin, Ireland and the slightly muted look suits the tone perfectly. I have to say though, that the composer who scored this film seems to have had a pretty easy job as you'll hear the same group of strings repeated throughout the entirety of the picture. Maybe there's more to it than I'm hearing, you just won't be seeing me running out to buy the music anytime soon.
'The Lobster' started off being one of my favorite films of the year, but slowly began to lose my interest once it stopped playing around with it's wholly original idea. I know that "the lobster" is *spoiler* basically just a metaphor for who David is *unspoiler*, but I wanted more animals in this and just more of that weirdness that seemed like it was promised from the beginning. Despite this, it's still a perfectly enjoyable flick and you won't find another one like it. Also, just seeing Colin Farrell playing David is worth it.