Jun 10, 2016

[Movies] The Lobster (2015)

We have random movie nights at the office when people don't feel like going home or when the traffic (or the weather) is particularly bad. So instead of going through the terrible traffic, you might as well wait it out with your office mates right? Most of the nights have been horror nights but we've had a few instances of someone wanting to try something rather different to see how folks would react.

Enter The Lobster, which is probably one of the quirkier art films that I've ever seen and definitely one of the weirdest movies we've watched at the office. But its eccentricity is not a bad thing in itself. It's just part of the unique character of the movie. Then again, there's a heck of a lot in this movie that makes it very, very unique.

It's one of those movies whose premise is almost completely alien to the point of being absurd. And yet in its absurdity it has a bit of elegance in how the fictional world is consistent with its own strange rules. And how the whole story unfolds is a magical balance between intense drama and light-hearted but not idiotic comedy. And for this depth and complexity, I really came to enjoy this movie.

Synopsis: The Lobster is a 2015 science fiction romantic comedy (or perhaps a black comedy even?) directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. The screenplay was written by Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos. The movie won the Jury Prize for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and has been nominated for many different awards.

In this somewhat dystopian world, the City requires at single adults are given 45 days to find a partner. They are made to check into this hotel where they listen to various lectures, try to figure out what your one unique thing is and find someone who shares that uniqueness. If they remain single after 45 days, they are then turned into the animal of their choice and released into the forest. Our story focuses on David (Colin Farrell), whose wife left him and thus he is now a single man subject to the same rules of the City. Thus he checks into the hotel and begins his 45 day challenge.

The movie follow David's journey at a pace that helps all of us understand the rules of the place. In theory you'd think that David would have already gone through all this before since he had already been married, but our lack of context for things makes things quaintly vague. There are a lot of question about how things work and whether or not the rules of this City is the same situation all throughout the world. We don't know if it had always been this way or the whole requirement related to partnership was some newer thing. But this is the status quo of the world and so we can only accept things as they are and try to keep pace with the plot.

But I loved that journey - I loved becoming more and more "informed" of the world as the narrative moved forward. And it's not just David's journey - we're quickly introduced to other single characters who are hoping to find mates and the strange extremes that they choose to go to in order to avoid being turned into an animal.

And let's talk about that bit - being turned into an animal. They're quite literal about it as we see David bring a dog around and claims that this dog is actually his brother. They never go into detail in terms of how these people are turned into animals - it's just a given. It's yet another peculiar yet also fascinating aspect of the world. I do love movies like this. I can't quite explain why.

The movie has an interesting shift towards the middle as David's 45 days draw to a close, but I won't go into detail as to what that's all about. Spoilers and all that after all. but the change in his focus doesn't hurt the narrative and the story keeps moving forward with more nuances of this world and more things to discover and ultimately laugh about. It's a really enjoyable journey of a film.

The Lobster is one of those movies that will always be difficult to explain but something that you want to share. It's strange and exciting and wonderfully scored and thus quite the movie experience indeed. Thus the film gets a great 5 animals that no one ever wants to become out of a possible 5.

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