&#039The Lobster&#039: A Rom-Com With Satirical Claws

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in The Lobster, which plays around with the idea of compatibility.

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in The Lobster, which plays around with the thought of compatibility. Despina Spyrou/Courtesy of A24 hide caption

toggle caption Despina Spyrou/Courtesy of A24

Dating is lots difficult as factors stand. But suppose romance came with deadlines, and a penalty for not meeting them. That’s the dilemma Colin Farrell faces in filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ most recent weirdness. The maker of Dogtooth, which takes property schooling to comically absurd extremes, and Alps, which does considerably the same for the process of grieving, is tackling notions of romance in The Lobster, and let’s just say that rom-coms do not come much stranger.

Farrell plays David, a doughy (the actor gained 40 pounds for the function), nebbishy guy whose wife has just left him as the film begins. He lives in a slightly futuristic society that so values coupledom that living a solitary existence is simply outlawed. So as soon as it becomes identified that he’s single, the authorities pack him off to a grand rural hotel exactly where the manager (a deliciously matter-of-fact Olivia Colman) explains the ground rules: Guests have 45 days to couple-up, and if they fail to do so, they will be turned into an animal of their choice. David has brought his dog (formerly his brother, who didn’t make it) so he knows the ropes.

What animal, wonders the manager, has David chosen to become in the event that he cannot find a compatible mate? “A lobster,” he replies, noting that lobsters stay fertile for life, have blue blood like aristocrats, and that anyway, he really likes the sea.

“Excellent selection,” he’s told, and the clock starts ticking.

Absolutely everyone in this society assumes that compatibility implies “like with like,” so a guy (Ben Whishaw) who desires to attract a girl who gets nosebleeds bangs his head against walls to make his own nose bleed. A guy (John C. Reilly) with a lisp looks for a gal with a speech impediment. David briefly tries to ingratiate himself with a heartless lady by faking indifference to her. Always, even though, there is the expertise that items may possibly not perform out.

David discovers there is an alternative of sorts. In the woods surrounding the hotel are fairly a lot of uncommon animals — camels, Shetland ponies, flamingos — but also a revolutionary bunch of loner escapees. For recreation, the hotel guests hunt them with tranquilizer darts, with each bagged loner getting the hunter an extra day of beasthood-avoidance. The loners, who prize lonerness as strongly as the rest of society prizes coupledom, have their personal set of guidelines, which turn out to be just as peculiar — and simultaneously funny and cruel — as these of the society they are rebelling against.

Greek filmmaker Lanthimos is fond of hermetically sealed satires like this, exactly where the logic is rigidly internal and the outcomes of following that logic determinedly strange. The Lobster is his very first film in English, and it plays cleverly with the compatibility assumptions behind, say, singles groups and online dating web sites.

Challenging to tell how he feels about the concept that opposites attract. But possibly it really is reflected in the opposite 1st and second halves he has offered the movie. The early going is comic and light. Then, when David escapes into the woods and encounters soulmate Rachel Weisz, there is a tonal shift to darkness, coupled with violence.

Arguably, that is much less rewarding. Nevertheless, if weird is what you happen to be hunting for, The Lobster is, claws down, the rom-com of the year (though possibly not 1 you’d want to choose for a very first date).

Arts &amp Life : NPR