Review: The Lobster, B
Rated R, 118 minutes
Not everyone likes seafood, and likewise, the dark and subversive new dramedy "The Lobster" is an acquired taste. Overlong and occasionally uneven especially in its later chapters, it's also one of the year's most original and disturbing films yet with a few compelling statements about dating and companionship. The movie is about David (Colin Farrell), a man who has just been dumped by his wife. To make matters worse, David lives in a society where single people have 45 days to find true love, or else they are turned into the animal of their choice and released into the woods. He escapes and ultimately joins up with a rebel faction known as The Loners, a group founded on a complete rejection of romance. But once there, David meets an enigmatic stranger (Rachel Weisz) who stirs up unexpected and strong feelings within him. Directed and written by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose done similar offbeat work, "The Lobster" is a surreal, highly unconventional love story set in a dystopian world where singleness is not allowed. The strange, disquieting tone, especially early on, is what can make it both touching and hilarious, and also very disturbing (warning: one gruesome scene in which a beloved animal is killed is definitely not for animal lovers). Essentially, it's a movie of two halves. The first half, set in the hotel where singles are forced to find their soul mate, is the better structured, more humorous section and with more to say about dating, than the second, looser half as David falls in love and wanders in the woods. Ultimately, it goes on too long and Lanthimos lets the narrative meander too much, struggling to find a fitting ending for his dark tale. Still, it's handsomely filmed on location in Ireland, the stringy music gives it an unusual, melodramatic pause, and both Weisz and especially Farrell are a game, engaging pair. "The Lobster" is most pertinent when it says that love happens naturally and often in the most unexpected of locations and ways. It's also a movie with some nice touches that pulls some unexpected surprises along the way and an anti-rom com love story that walks the dark side.