TIFF 2015 Review: The Lobster
Credits include Woman with Nosebleeds, Man with Limp, and Short-Sighted Woman. Those references of course come at the conclusion, long after The Lobster has already dove head-first into morbid comedy and pointed absurdity.
Stoically, this tale about a society where coupling is required and being single sends you to rehab, The Lobster has frequent early moments where your reaction is along the lines of ‘come again?’ It’s matter-of-fact; all the characters, including Colin Farrell’s tragic protagonist David who recently lost his wife, buys into this bizarre system where failure to find a mate (one who shares the same ailments) will transform you into an animal.
David would want to be a lobster he explains to his new single comrades, who include John C. Reilly (lisp) and Ben Winshaw (limp), a young woman who gets nosebleeds, and another who is completely heartless. David hopes it won’t come to that; his days tick down as ridiculous events and presentations are held at this seminar for the damned. “There is nothing in the middle,” on administrator remarks on bisexuality. “That would be absurd.”
In fact, it’s only binary here. Oh, and David can extend his stay if he can, while during the occasional hunting trip, tranquilize those off-the-grid loners who occupy the surrounding forests, unaccepted into society.
Precision of language and commitment to bleak hilarity propels this astounding and inventive offering from Yorgos Lanthimos. We witness David rebel against his confines and take to the woods (meeting Rachel Weisz and Léa Seydou), where the setting has changed, but strict rules and helplessness still exists.
What’s more, peacocks, ponies, and other animals randomly occupy the background as a stark remind of what could come.