Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos With: Colin Farrel, John C Reilley, Lea Seydoux, Rachel Weisz, Ben Wishaw, Olivia Colman Cinematographer: Thimios Bakatakis
A STRANGE TIME loop seemed to have enveloped the cinema where I recently saw “Lobster”, the new (and celebrated) movie from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth”). Though the movie is officially only just under two hours, I could swear it took just under two days to view. Maybe it was the slow robotic deliberateness of all the conversations; or maybe its deep thoughts were so ponderously heavy that they weighted down even time; or maybe the meandering pointlessness to it all cast a stilling spell of futility upon the passage of time itself…I will never know.
But buyer beware. If you go to see this movie on a Saturday, an entire weekend will have passed before you emerge, bleary eyed, confused and gasping for the resuscitation of banal conversations.
It’s set in some distant future or more likely, a parallel universe where the State has intruded even to the point of controlling and ordering the timing of romance. In this universe, the love-lorn must repair to a bleak lakeside hotel where they’re given forty-five days to find true love again; and if they fail, they’re turned into the animal of their choice. Our protagonist David (a fattened, moustachioed Colin Farrell) who hangs around with his brother, now a dog, chooses a lobster (They live long, forever retain their sex drive and have blue blood. Sort of the Henry VIII of animals). Over the hill, somewhere in the distance, live another group – their opposites – who are dedicated to abstinence. Their punishment for finding a mate is to have their lips sliced (a nasty idea which, mercifully, we were not shown).
Of course, mate-desperate Dave stumbles upon an unnamed inhabitant of the abstainers (Rachel Weisz) for what blossoms into illicit sex and love.
Love will out.
Or opposites attract. Or something equally profound.
It’s Romeo and Juliette without the Capulets and Montagues…
And without charm, wit, dramatic tension, engaging characters, good dialogue, sex appeal or any reference back to even flashes of life as we know it.
And this despite a tremendous cast, working very hard to emote on cue
But, this bizarre movie does have its unique ability to warp the space-time equilibrium. There’s something to be said for that I guess.