*** out of four
The Lobster is a really weird and compelling movie that wavers, sometimes jarringly, between dark satire and unsettling drama. It's set in one of those antiseptic dystopian societies in the near future, and in this future, it is the law to have a mate. Single people, like David (Colin Farrell), are forced to find a romantic partner at The Hotel. If they don't find anyone in 45 days, they are transformed into the animal of their choice. David wants to be a lobster.
After several failed attempt at love, David escapes into the wilderness and joins the Loners, who have a strict rule of not connecting with another person and finding love. Complications arise when David begins to have feelings for a fellow Loner (Rachel Weisz).
By having every character speak in a monotone voice and be very clinical and emotionless in what they talk about makes the humor much more bizarre and effective. However, this really is like an emotional roller coaster. The funniest area of the film – when David attempts to be heartless when he is trying to woo a heartless woman (Angeliki Papoulia) – is also the most distressing. Be warned – there is much animal cruelty here. Sure, it's fake and just a movie, but still.
I guess the closest movie that best captures the same odd mood as this one is Being John Malkovich, yet this has more serious undertones. The Lobster – directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who is also responsible for the unnerving Dogtooth – is a brutal meditation on loneliness. In its own offbeat way, the film shows that being with the wrong person is just as lonely as not having a companion at all, and also how damaging the lack of love can be.
The Lobster opens in New Orleans on June 3, 2016.