Exquisite Storytelling and Humor Make The Lobster a Classic
In the downtown area of Montclair, a town over from where I live, there’s a phenomenal little movie theater that plays all the Indie films the big names like AMC never get around to showing. I’ve seen A Scanner Darkly, Bellflower, The Artist (before its major release) there among many others. While this may sound like an endorsement for the Clairidge movie theater off Bloomfield Ave, I preface my review with this information for a reason. Indie movie theaters are few and far between. From the couple that inhabit Manhattan to the few that are sprinkled through the more rural areas of the East coast, they’re a treat to be enjoyed. Seeing a film that doesn’t play at a huge venue is a breath of fresh air. I equate this to the hilarious moment in the film The Fighter where Mark Wahlberg’s character takes Amy Adams to see Belle Epoch. It’s a refreshing type of pretention, whether that’s oxy-moronic or not.
It’s use of narrative...bring a grounded serenity to the strangely literary storytelling of the film.
A little while ago I was able to add another Indie film to that list. A film that has changed my way of thinking about cinema. A film that was far superior to what my brain conjured a film could accomplish. Though it’s been out for a while and I had some serious trouble locating a venue to play it, The Lobster was, a thousand times over, worth the wait. There’s something incredibly confusing about Colin Farrell’s track record. When he’s playing an American heart-throb, by the numbers his films leave very much to be desired. It’s when Farrell get’s to truly perform in the more independent films that he shines way brighter than you’d expect. I urge you to watch such films as In Bruges, Ondine, Triage, and Seven Psychopaths. Now, thanks to the filmmakers behind The Lobster there’s another stunning film to add to Farrell’s repertoire.
The Lobster is unique in a sense that most films are not. It’s use of narrative, via the incredibly talented Oscar winning Rachel Weis, bring a grounded serenity to the strangely literary storytelling of the film. In a way it reminds me of the use of narrative for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The narrative speaks to the audience in present tense and details moments past, present, and future, that happen to our leading man. The environment in which we’re invited is a near dystopian future that has you questioning what exactly this world is. We never learn certain answers and that’s an amazing feat to accomplish for director Yorgos Lanthimos to do without leaving his viewers frustrated.
It never fails to keep your attention, every scene, every moment as exciting and whimsical as the first.
Colin Farrell’s character, known only as David, is the “every man” who understands the precursors of this future. He knows that this is the way things must be and he abides by it. His obedience, in any other setting, would make for an incredibly boring film, but something about The Lobster puts his character in a situation that makes it unique. Yes, of course he does follow the tropes of questioning the way things are run, but the most interesting part about this is that he questions it from both sides. In the simplist of terms, David questions the authoritarian perspective as well as the rebellion’s perspective. That’s what makes for such an interesting viewing. And in a film about a world where if you can’t find love in 60 days you get turned into an animal, interesting is a very important notion.
The humor that liters the entirety of The Lobster is brilliantly worked. It’s socially awkward praise brought some out-loud chuckles to the audience that were unexpected. The deadpan nature of our characters and the lack of attempting to be funny is what makes the movie hilarious. The characters we meet are wonderfully portrayed and each intriguing to their own accord. The story arcs in the film make for curious turns. In a film that goes with the flow when it comes to story telling, The Lobster does a great job of keeping you on your toes. In essence, sure, the film is about one man rebelling against authority; it’s a plot that’s been used a thousand times. It’s where The Lobster deters from these plot points that strengthens it as a film. It never fails to keep your attention, every scene, every moment as exciting and whimsical as the first.
[The Lobster] doesn’t sit comfortably in the pre-carved pathway that many films in its style tend to do.
The Lobster is a brilliant piece of cinema, a film that keeps going and gets you to really question what exactly it is you’re watching. Its use of humor and narrative storytelling are unique to a fault. It doesn’t sit comfortably in the pre-carved pathway that many films in its style tend to do. It opens doors, it turns on lights, it gets you to question motives and consequences. The Lobster accomplishes a lot in its run time and leaves you pondering it as a whole for days, even weeks to follow. The film is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now and I don’t usually do this in my reviews but go buy it. Risk the twenty odd dollars on a film you haven’t seen and watch it. You will not be disappointed.