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CANNES 2015 Review: The Lobster

Yorgos Lanthimos shot onto the world cinema scene with his shocking, Oscar-nominated Dogtooth. His latest film The Lobster marks his English-language debut, a film which makes no compromises to Lanthimos’ disturbing, yet darkly comedic atmosphere.
The film explores a parallel world where it has become illegal to be single. Single men and women are rounded up and brought to a resort hotel, where they have forty-five days to find a partner or risk being turned into an animal of their own choosing. Colin Farrell stars as David, who after being dumped by his girlfriend, is brought to Hotel. Though he quickly becomes friends with a lisping man and another who limps (John C. Riley and Ben Whishaw), David fails to find a romantic partner, and must take matters into his own hands to avoid being turned into a lobster.

The first half of The Lobster is somewhat of a masterpiece. The Hotel captures Lanthimos’ twisted humor perfectly, leaving its characters and viewers in painfully awkward situations. Olivia Colman is perfectly cast as the Hotel Manager, a definite highlight in the film. The rest of the actors continue to impress throughout, Riley showing a quite interesting turn. The second half of the film sees a major setting change, and while it is still strong, it does lose some of the traction created in the first half. Thankfully, the magic is earned back when the characters in the second location return to the Hotel. All of this culminates in an ending that is nothing short of perfect. Lanthimos ends with film with perfect ambiguity, one that has rarely crossed over to English-language films. The Lobster is sure to challenge, but those who accept its spontaneous awkwardness will be left with one of the most rewarding cinematic experiences this year.

[star v=45]

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.