May 12, 2016
Ancient religious believe in the reincarnation of people as animals, but in Yorgos Lanthimos’ weird film “Lobster” society mandates that people of marriageable age who divorce must find a mate in 45 days. If they do not find “true love” the penalty is to chose an animal and be released in the woods as that animal for the rest of your life.
Colin Farrell (David) arrives at the compound, which looks like Mohonk or some other large inn backing into the woods. When the woman asks about his preference, David requests the body of a lobster.
This surrealistic community is populated by stilted people who will never hook-up, and others desperate to marry regardless of their feelings for the other person. Much like a benign summer camp routine, everyone meets for activities and meals giving potential partners in constant view. One of the many quirky touches forces the hotel residents to listen to music on earphones, but everyone is listening to same traces so if they can dance with likely partners.
Outside the compound, a renegade group looks for “lost” camp members. Bows and arrows slung on their shoulders, the woodland “loners” prey on the regimented members of the hotel. Of course, their “captives” can love anyone, listen to any music, read what they want, but one thing they can’t do is leave. So once, again, society incarcerates. Led by the attractive, but scary Lea Seydoux, she’s rebelling from her well-to-do family, while simultaneously trying to soak them for support. Like many, she’s a bundle of contradictions.
Both are controlling societies, deciding on how you will live, how many children per family—the big government. There’s an aspect of hunger games and Orwell’s 1984. Flat images, and clear colors give the film a video palette. Even the lush green woods has an air of unrealness to it.
The excellent cast, led by Farrell and Rachel Weisz (the short sighted woman), unravel a story that’s both harrowing and witty.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis