I absolutely loved this film, “The Lobster” (2015) is an A24 film directed and written by Yorgos Lanthimos who also wrote and directed “The Favorite” as well as “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” which both also received major cinematic praise for its writing and directing style. I thought that “The Lobster” was such a creative, unconventional, and honestly eerie look in society’s expectations of love and relationships. The film takes place in a futuristic society where every person that is not in a relationship must find a partner in 45 days’ time or they will be turned into an animal of their choosing.
For our main character “David” played by Colin Farrell, who is freshly out of a long-term relationship this comes to rude and sudden awakening for him as he goes to a hotel in search of a mate. When he arrives at the hotel he meets with the “Hotel Manager” played by Olivia Colman, there he chooses his animal (a Lobster) and is then thrown in to mingle with other people to try and find a partner. When things go awry for David, he is thrown into a new group of people called “The Loners” and their leader played by Léa Seydoux. There he also meets the “Short-Sighted Women” played by Rachel Weisz and begins an unconventional romance with her in secret.
I think the film’s dystopian outlook on life and romance as well as topic can apply to not only this film’s universe but to our society in general. The way we often believe that we are stronger or more stable or even that we will be taken more seriously in the world with a partner is strongly conveyed in an interesting way in this film mainly through the actions and the impeccably written dialogue. The way the characters interact with each other is strange, honest, and keeps the viewer constantly on the edge of their seats in every frame of this film. I also must add that I absolutely loved Colin Farrell’s (David) performance as well as Rachel Weisz’s (Short Sighted Women), Léa Seydoux’s (Loner Leader), Oliva Colmen’s (Hotel Manager), and Ben Whishaw’s (The Limping Man). Each and every one of them grabbed and captured the audience’s attention in every scene that they were in.
Something that this film does really well is the framing of shots to convey emotion to either the audience or to convey an emotion that a character(s) may be feeling. One scene in particular that comes to mind when I think of the framing in this film is the scene towards the end of the film where Colin Farrell’s character (David) and Rachel Weisz’s character (Short Sighted Women) are sitting by a lake in each other’s arms and are discussing their plans to leave the “Loner Group”. The framing of the shot is a very zoomed-out wide shot and places us the viewers far away from the couple that is supposed to be our main focus right now. However, what this shot is actually doing is sort of disconnecting us the viewer from the couple as they discuss plans to leave the loner group. What this shot also accomplishes is an eerie and uncomfortable feeling that we start to feel as the viewer by being extremely far from our two main characters.
This due to the fact that because we have spent at this point in the film quite a lot of time with our two main characters and have rooted for their relationship, we start to feel due to the use of this framework that our characters are possibly being watched and that something bad may happen to our main characters. This feeling is also what our main characters are most likely feeling at this moment because they are discussing something that could possibly bring harm to them and may get themselves killed because the loners have a strict rule of no romance or sexual relationships or there will be extreme punishments. This is one example of the brilliant and specific use of framing in this film that not only unsettles and keeps the viewer on edge but also conveys character emotion through the framework.
From the very first scene you are invested and uncomfortable by every frame which is something that is also not only accomplished in the cinematography and directing but also with the brilliant writing by screenwriters Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou which even got them an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. The intentional framework of the shots gives way to tension, anticipation, unpredictability, loneliness, and unsettles and intrigues the viewer greatly. Which I think is a great nod to Yorgos Lanthimos and the way he directs this film and all of his films. There is not a single second of release of tension in this film which is what a good thriller movie should do. The uncomfortable and fast changing editing of scenes as well as long shots made for a brilliantly disturbing and interesting concept for this dystopian romance thriller. I highly recommend everyone to check it out!