Ben Oliver

Banner image for The Lobster

The Lobster

We dance alone. That’s why we only play electronic music.
14 January 2016

A surreal sort-of sci-fi sort-of comedy, set initially in a hotel where single people must find a partner within a certain amount of time or be turned into an animal of their choice. Colin Farrell plays our protagonist, David, who chooses to be turned into a lobster should the need arise.

Lanthimos makes a damning indictment of the current state of relationships in society. Couples can only be together if they have something in common with each other, usually something fairly superficial like a limp, or a love of biscuits. Some go to the extent of faking a trait in order to be with someone. At times things get uncomfortable, at times very amusing.

What could be a powerful, emotional film gets set instead to a dreary, bland background. People talk in a strange, precise yet affected way. The setting is in a gorgeous part of Ireland but it’s grey and lifeless. It’s a really effective hook and it’s what makes The Lobster so unique.

My only criticism would be that it could have been a lot shorter. What is initially really interesting becomes frustrating in the last 20 minutes or so. The film seems to lose its edge, not quite knowing where to go. Lanthimos makes his point but refuses to roll the credits.

This doesn’t detract too much from the film though. The Lobster is a unique albeit slightly dull picture that leaves a lasting impression on its audience. Lanthimos has found a creative and accessible way to make social critique.