Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, Ashley Jensen, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Michael Smiley, Ben Whishaw
In a totalitarian future, coupledom is mandatory. A cuckold named David arrives in a remote hotel (pairing facility) where he has 45 days to find a perfect match or face being transformed into an animal of his choosing (lobster). In contrast, the nearby woods hide escaped loners who fanatically forbid any kind of intimate contact between individuals. Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos makes his English language debut with this clever but flawed dystopian comedy which works as a parable but not as a story. The initial premise is captivating, at least on a conceptual level, but once Lanthimos and his co-writer Efthimis Filippou finish introducing their robotic characters and filling in the details of their world, I felt increasingly angry and disappointed. In the dating game, it is common to hide your flaws. In this fictional world, you must have the same exact physical defect as your ideal partner. Nevertheless, there are some wonderfully weird scenes in the first half, but the film slowly loses its way when David heads to the woods. The performances are so mannered that I felt like watching an Aki Kaurismäki film in English.