Weird, whacky & wicked but equally dull, sterile & vapid, The Lobster is a strange beast that actually begins quite well but tumbles down the road after the halfway mark to conclude on a rather uninteresting note. The concept is no doubt interesting and it takes its time to make us familiar to the society inhabiting its tale but all of it doesn’t amount to much in the end and it fails to leave any lasting impression.
Set in a dystopian future, The Lobster presents a world in which single people are arrested and taken to a hotel where they are obliged to find a matching partner within 45 days or they are transformed into animals & released into the woods. The plot follows David who arrives at the hotel for the same reason but his endeavours of finding a mate before his time is over ends far more tragically than he expected.
Co-written & directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster marks his English-language debut and the idea & inspiration behind it is both clever & intriguing. The sequences taking place in the hotel are nicely carried out but its second half lacks the same level of creativity that’s present in the first half. The excitement goes missing once the protagonist leaves the hotel and from there on, it just limps throughout its remaining runtime.
The hotel is neatly maintained but it also has a creepy vibe about it. Camera movements are fluid, colour hues wonderfully compliment its overcast ambience and lighting seems natural for the most part. Editing allows the plot to unfold at an unhurried pace but the whole story feels twice as long because of that, with no idea of where it’s headed. Lastly, the background score is just as odd as the story’s content and is intermittently used.
Coming to the performances, The Lobster features a fine cast in Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw & John C. Reilly but most of them are simply bland & lifeless in their respective roles. It can be argued that the spiritless rendition of these scripted characters was a deliberate move but it doesn’t really help in enriching the experience, at all. The deadpan humour is occasionally amusing but then, it’s also too easy to get frustrated by whatever is happening.
On an overall scale, The Lobster is an uncanny mix of bizarre ideas that, in its effort to play with multiple things at once, may end up drifting many of its viewers. While there is nothing laudable about it, its parody of the society that gives way too much credit to companionship, in addition to the dig this film takes at those match-making algorithms which rely on similar traits & likeness factor is one aspect I liked but in all seriousness, The Lobster is too mediocre to be of any significance.