HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Lobster
HTS Overall Score:75
Offbeat, dry, oddball comedies with social messages are nothing new in the world of cinema. However its use in modern cinema has changed greatly and we get some really bizarre scenarios to watch on screen. Blending in bits of “1984” with “Tusk”, Greek indie director Yorgos Lanthimos crafts a truly insane story of society and love that will have you whispering confused epithets under your breath upon watching. To say that it is strange and quirky is an understatement, but it does so in a way that will have you wryly chuckling the entire time. Yorgos has made some incredibly provocative and intriguing films over the last several years (my favorite being “Dogtooth), but this one seems to be aiming at breaking into a more widespread audience thanks to the fairly largely known cast and the less obtuse storytelling. Much of it is still heavily rooted in his love of the bizarre and the strange, but is much more accessible to the average man (which still won’t keep you from saying “what in blue blazes?” at least 50 times during the 2 hour film).
The basic premise of the absurdist dystopian film (best way I could describe it) is that love and cohabitation is considered a socially beneficial thing in modern society (whenever the movie is supposed to take place. It’s kept ambiguous). Those who are single are pressed into a sort of 45 day resort where they are tasked with falling in love with someone in that time period, or they are forced to transform into an animal of their choosing, where once again they have the option to find a mate. David (Colin Farrall) is one such single man who is in this position after his wife left him for someone else. Now he’s on his way to a hotel with his brother (who didn’t make it through the process last time and was turned into a dog) and is getting ready to find the love of his life. Well, if he can that is, being that the “resort” has some rather bizarre and antiquated rules. First you can’t hook up with someone unless they share similar traits to you (such as having excessive nose bleeds, being nearsighted, or some other odd trait), and secondly you have bizarre punishments for ordinary things. Masturbation is considered one of those things and when the man with the lisp (except for David no one has a name, just monikers and nicknames such as “short sighted woman” and “man with a limp), played by John C. Reilly in one of his more rare straight man roles, is caught doing so and is subsequently made to put his offending hand in a toaster as punishment.
Ironically many of the rules seem to be at odds with each other, like the afore mentioned self-gratification rule yet being forced to be stimulated by the maid every morning as an incentive to find a mate. Yet the people go about their day acting as if this the very definition of normal (which is probably right in line with Yorgos’ main theory of society being a blanket that is draped over the individuality of the person and their personal tastes, despite every effort to instill them with propaganda and rules). Trying to get hooked up with someone is a daunting task, and one that David takes with the utmost respect, but doing so requires that he sort of “lie” about himself. Trying to hook-up with the cold emotionless women that no one wants, he is forced to act like he loathes humanity and is ambivalent about people’s wellbeing. When he is inadvertently found out, David is forced to escape the compound and align himself with the “loners”, who are single people that refuse to follow the social construct and live out in the woods outside the laws of humanity.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76481[/img]The loners actually DENY their followers any romantic entanglements and punish those who actually do form any attachments. However, David finds himself irresistibly attracted to a short sighted woman (Rachel Weisz) and the two soon form a bond that is hard to deny. Spending their nights raiding the resort and outlying cities, the loners make their own little world terrorizing those who are still trapped inside the bizarre social constructs, but mostly manage to overlook that they are basically the flipside of the same coin. Except that they force people AWAY from each other instead of toward each other. Now, just as David is found out as not being emotionless and a fraud in his romantic pursuits back at the resort, he and short sighted woman are soon found out by the loners and the pair is forced to decide if their romantic liaison is real, and if it is actually worth fighting for.
“The Lobster” is a strangely bizarre, and twistedly humorous take on society and love as a whole. Mainly in regards to how we view the necessity or denial of pairing up romantically and finding love. The hotel acts as the very obvious over exaggeration of those who constantly push the idea that you aren’t anything unless you’re with someone. Using social pressures (and in this case physical as well) in order to get you to that happy bliss that you’re “supposed” to be at. On the other hand, we have the loners who act as the flipside, those who have become jaded and warped in their failures at finding love and impose the exact opposite views on everyone. But the real crux of the situation lies in Short sighted woman and David, where you find out that love is not exactly something that follows rules and regulations. Many of those precepts and stereotypes are very true in finding a mate, but who we’re attracted to is not an exact science and thusly is not something that can be completely controlled.
Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, and some violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76489[/img]“The Lobster” comes to Blu-ray with a very nice, if not slightly drab looking, 1080p encode. Shot on Arri Alexa cameras, it sports a very clean looking image that while not glossy, tends to look a bit noisy in darker shots. The color palette is a bit bleak and dreary, with low color saturation and a tendency to push towards the brown and yellow end of the spectrum. Fine detail remains excellent throughout, though, with the individual pores and wrinkles on Colin Farrell’s face showing up quite nicely, as well as even the individual stitching on the drab trousers and floras dresses that the women wear. Black levels are solid for the most part, but sometimes that afore mentioned digital noise will pop up from time to time.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76497[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track fares much the same way as the video score. It is solid and works well with the simplistic sound design, but there is not a WHOLE lot asked of the mix. The track is a bit front heavy, with most of the sounds in the movie being dialog and the occasional sound effect in the front sound stage. Outside during the hunts the side channels get a bit more workout, but mostly they tend to be utilized with the oddly haunting score or when a door slams in the background. Vocals are crisp and clean, with no sounds of distortion (actually the only sounds of distortion are the analog audio recordings that pass for some of the score), and the LFE is tight and punchy, adding some weigh to the gun shots, or a body crashing to the ground.
• “The Fabric of Attraction: Concocting The Lobster” Featurette
“The Lobster” is not a movie for everyone, but it acts as a fascinating black comedy that pokes fun at society and the way we view people and their romantic attachments. If I had to boil the movie down to one simple phrase, it would be that the way that humans find and keep love is varied and not to be bolted down to a set of rules and guidelines. Much of “The Lobster” is mood and visually based, so cleanly and concisely summing up the experience is almost counter intuitive. Needless to say it’s a fascinating indie film that had me chuckling and wincing quite a bit during the 2 hour runtime. Definitely recommended for the adventurous cinemaphile
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Written by: Efthymis Filippou
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 118 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 2nd 2016
Buy The Lobster On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Good Watch
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