Eyes on Screen are now proud to acknowledge the Lincoln Film Society. The Society is a voluntarily run, not-for-profit organisation. Each year, they organise a programme of screenings, offering the very best of contemporary world cinema. This allows beautiful films with little or no exposure to take centre stage in Lincoln. For their 2016-17 season, Eyes on Screen will be reviewing each film screened. For more information on the Lincoln Film Society, please visit their website. For the latest news, you can also like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.
The following review is of The Lobster (Ireland/UK: 2015) – screening #4 of the Society’s 2016-17 season, shown on Friday 21st October 2016.
Nestled in a future dystopia is a hotel dedicated to finding love for its single residents. It sounds like the perfect premise for a romantic comedy, and that’s exactly what The Lobster claims to be. However, it is definitely not one of the sickly sweet sugar-spun rom-coms that we are used to associating with date night. The Lobster is a romantic comedy with roots so black you sometimes wonder why you’re laughing.
The hotel that star Colin Farrell (playing David) checks into is set in a world where singledom is something to be ashamed of and couples are the oppressive mainstream. In his new eerie surroundings, David has a set number of days to find his other half or he will be mutilated into a creature of his choice, left to fend alone in the wild. Masturbation and forced relationships are a no no, but manhunts on the escaped residents in the woods are a necessity. The hotel is supervised by the fierce hotel manager, played excellently by Olivia Coleman. The other guests are a mismatched array of unique oddities, all adding to the unearthly feel of the first half of the film and taking the edge away from some of the more extreme situations our character sees in the hotel. It is here, in the first half of the film, where this black-hearted comedy shines. However, as we reach the romance in the latter half, the film loses its lustre.
Once (through extreme circumstances) David is forced to flee the fantastic environment that is the hotel and live in the woods, the film starts to lose its captivating touch. We meet a new set of characters, each even more uninteresting than the last. We are introduced to David’s love interest (Rachel Weisz) and are expected to accept her as such without complaint, even though her only defining trait is her short-sightedness. Their ‘romance’ is exactly as romance is portrayed by the unfeeling couples that they are struggling to fight against. Our new villain (Lea Seydoux), while more immediately threatening than Coleman’s character, is, again, simply just not as intriguing. This is not to downplay the performances by Weisz and Seydoux, who both bring a semblance of life to these character shells. But, my disappointment lies in the rich variety of characters, introduced in the first half of the film, who now lack.
In summary, I would highly recommend The Lobster. I did thoroughly enjoy the first half of the film and was engrossed almost immediately. However, I would suggest pausing to make a cup of tea before embarking on the second half. Trust me, it helps.
Written by Rebecca Booty