Despite having a promising premise and a superb cast, The Lobster ultimately falls flat due to its overtly dry humor and length. I wanted to like this movie, and as a matter of fact it had me for the first 45 minutes, but with the movie clocking in at just a minute less than two hours, it eventually became a chore to sit through the rest. The Lobster has a very peculiar sense of humor and tone; we’ve seen it all before in numerous Wes Anderson films, and as a matter of fact, if I hadn’t known any better I’d say it was Wes Anderson’s worst film to date. You have to give credit to director and co-writer Yorgos Lanthimos for closely mimicking Anderson’s style.
The Lobster has an interesting setup; in the future you get to a certain age, and if you’re not coupled up with someone you get transformed into an animal. Colin Farrell plays David, a socially awkward male who checks himself into The Hotel; a facility that serves as a last ditch effort for people to find their mates. This idea feels wasted on such a pretentious comedy; I’d love to see a science fiction movie where those who cannot find a spouse are exiled from society, or even flat out killed. Speaking as someone who is not married and not a parent, there is a lot of pressure to conform into everyone else’s perception of normalcy. These fascinating ideas are explored in the film, but just barely. Instead, The Lobster preoccupies itself with eccentric line deliveries and static shots that linger on for far too long.
David ends up fleeing The Hotel, and he aligns himself with a group of Loners, people who have forsaken both the coupled life and the unfortunate fate of turning into an animal. They have strict rules that forbid their brethren from having intimacy with one another, which doesn’t work out well for David, who quickly becomes enamored with Rachel Weisz’s character. It’s around the time David escapes The Hotel that the film becomes hard to sit through; at least within The Hotel the characters are interesting in a pathetic sort of way, The Loners are boring and indistinguishable from one another.
The Lobster just loses its charm at a certain point, and nothing interesting or exciting happens with the characters. The film’s score is a violin screeching assault on the ears, and the dialogue is cold and mechanical, completely alien in its delivery. It’s just not my kind of movie, and it completely overstayed its welcome for me. It’s not an atrocious mess, but it’s certainly not the brilliant masterpiece some people try to make it out to be. If you’re a diehard fan of Wes Anderson’s brand of filmmaking, just stick with what he has to offer, he can do films with these kinds of tones and characters in his sleep, and he can do it quite a bit better than this film can.
The Lobster (2016) Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos. Written by: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou. Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly
5 out of 10