Review: Odd ‘Lobster’ observes human coupling from afar

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Things start off weird and only get weirder in the warped dark comedy “The Lobster,” a bizarre look at society’s mating rituals that may as well be beamed in from another planet.

After breaking up with his girlfriend, Danny (Colin Farrell) is shipped off to a hotel where all single people are sent. He has 45 days to either find a mate or get turned into the animal of his choosing. (He opts for a lobster.)

Outside the hotel, escapees wander the woods and are hunted down by guests of the hotel as sport. Once free, Danny falls for a character played by Rachel Weisz, and they bond over their mutual physical flaw — they’re both short-sighted.

“The Lobster” is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who made a stunning feature debut with 2009’s “Dogtooth.” Here he creates a marvelously strange universe with shades of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and Wes Anderson, and he employs a jagged classical score to add to the film’s eerie, uneasy sense of tension.

Characters talk in stilted, staccato rhythms, like they’re reading off cue cards, and the camera hangs back from them with an air of disengagement. The film has the feel of a human behavioral guide made by someone who has never watched humans interact.

Which is good. Not as good is the film’s lumbering second half, which slows the momentum built up in its first half, as Lanthimos struggles with where to take his story.

Farrell, sporting a paunchy gut, is well suited to his lonely loser character, and Weisz narrates the story with bite. Lanthimos doesn’t deliver all the way, but he sticks his landing mightily and whets appetites for whatever he decides to do next.

(313) 222-2284

‘The Lobster’


Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, and some violence

Running time: 119 minutes