The Lobster Review: Dark yet Hilarious

The Lobster is the latest film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, a Greek filmmaker known for the film DogtoothThe Lobster represents a huge step in the career of Lanthimos. It his first film to receive widespread exposure and stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and John C. Reilly.

The Lobster is set in a dystopian society where all single people must live in a hotel where they have 45 days to find a partner. Those who fail to find a partner are turned into an animal of their choice. Colin Farrel’s character David is sent to this hotel after his wife leaves him for another man. David picks the titular lobster as his animal of choice. David is an interesting character. He’s an architect who rarely says more than he needs to. David eventually tries to seduce the most heartless woman in the hotel. David and the heartless woman become a couple but the heartless woman soon learn that David has more emotion than he lets on. So the heartless woman kills David’s dog/brother leading David to cry in the bathroom. Under dire circumstances, David incapacitates the heartless woman and escapes from the hotel. Going much further into the plot of this film would perhaps reveal too much. Here’s what you need to know: The premise of this film is both inventive and terrifying

The first thing I should tell you is that I found The Lobster hilarious. If you appreciate dark humor, then you will absolutely enjoy this film. The first half of this film is especially entertaining when it utilizes its bizarre premise for humor. The various procedures and rules of the hotel are designed to foster pairing between the guests no matter the cost. For example, masturbation is a punishable offense, yet sexual stimulation by the hotel maid is mandatory. Having now seen two of Lanthimos’s films, I can see the beginning of a pattern. Both Dogtooth and The Lobster place characters in tragic yet hilariously absurd situations. That this technique works is a testament to Lanthimos’s cinematic skill.

The Lobster is separated into two parts. The first half taking place in the hotel while the second follows David’s escape into the forest where he meets the loners and a woman who becomes his natural partner. The world of the loners in the forest is as intricate as the world of the hotel. The loners abide by oppressive rules similar to the inhabitants of the hotel. No matter where David goes, he will be suffer from oppression, specifically focused on the rules of attraction. If David possesses any one motivation, it is to circumvent these rules undiscovered. David is an independent thinker in a sea of single-minded dogma. At its core, The Lobster is a film about the desire to rebel against the rules of society.

I really enjoyed this film. Apart from the interesting story, I also found the cinematography and score to be both effective elements of the film. Lanthimos is definitely a filmmaker to watch and it will be interesting to see where he goes next.