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Thread: The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

  1. #1
    Screenwriter Philip J. Fry's Avatar
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    The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)



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  2. #2
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    Almost made a 2016 thread since after some distributor issues it's now coming out under A24 in the States, but as a 2015 film, it's a decidedly under-discussed/under-seen one.

    But anyway, I didn't outright love this, but it has had an effect on me I didn't expect and is definitely staying with me to a significant extent. It's been about a week but I've thought about it just about every day since. It has such a dark fable-istic quality to it that can't really be compared to much else, and that works both with and against it in trying to wrap my head around where its storytelling design was taking it as I watched it -- since it takes new drastic turns every hypothetical reel -- only really coming together to make emotional sense after it completed and sat with me.

    Certain sequences are just riveting (the initial hunt and the make-out at the parents' house come to mind particularly), and when the black humour sneaks up and takes over, it absolutely caught me off guard in the best of ways. [
    ]

    The world of the film and the structure it chooses to roll it out with is entirely its own, and that's saying something. I just wish certain cogs of it turned a little less squeakily for me along the way. I know it's intentionally uncomfortable, it just doesn't seem to indulge in its weirdest impulse as much as it should, often grazing the surface of its most interesting ideas, content with just brushing everything on its mind with equal time instead of deeply digging into more here and there than it does.
    Last edited by Henry Gale; 02-24-2016 at 07:48 AM.
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  3. #3
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Henry Gale (view post)
    Almost made a 2016 thread since after some distributor issues it's now coming out under A24 in the States, but as a 2015 film, it's a decidedly under-discussed/under-seen one.
    We should move the thread to the 2016 forum, since it hasn't been released until now (or March, properly). I'm sure more of us (myself certainly included) will see it once it is commercially available.

    I'm looking forward to it quite a bit.
    Giving up in 2020. Who cares.

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    Ashes (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) **½
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    Inhalation (Edmund Yeo) *½

  4. #4
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Stay Puft (view post)
    We should move the thread to the 2016 forum
    We still should. It looks like its release has moved to May for the USA, though it just came out a couple weeks ago here in Canada.

    It's pretty damn good. Not sure if I like it more or less than Dogtooth, but it's around there for me. Much better than Alps, which I was just sort of eh whatever about.

    A lot of the focus of the critical discussion is on the hotel and its rituals, with some reviews I'm reading now saying it sort of runs out of steam or ideas in the forest segment, and while I disagree with D'Angelo for example (who focuses too much on making allegorical sense out of it) he is right about one thing: the premise is sort of a red herring. I'd go one step further and say it's not even really about romance. The juxtaposition of the hotel and forest paints a sharp and funny and tragic portrait of culture/counter-culture relationships (so D'Angelo is right in one sense that the forest doesn't make allegorical sense, because it's not an allegory per se but rather an arbitrary formation of rituals designed in response to that which it opposes, important in its consistency only with the movie's rules and not any specific real life example). The budding romance between the two main characters in this segment is just one possible example of a moment of spontaneous humanity that crashes into a system of social expectations and rituals, which itself provides a juxtaposition to the constructed falsehoods the various characters deliberately perpetuate to navigate the expectations and rituals of the hotel in the first segment. In both cases, the tension is the same: these characters are in constant conflict with the system, as these codes and rituals are designed to shape society and social interactions in a certain way, but on a personal and private level either run counter to nature or force characters to compromise their self (with varying degrees of unfortunate outcomes). That closing scene was like getting stabbed in the soul. Tragic not simply because these characters and their love don't fit in the system, but because there is no outside of the system (this is something I'm surprised nobody has really pointed out in any reviews; the major narrative conflict in the forest segment ultimately boils down to an intimate, personal moment in a public diner restroom and a single social ritual that is associated with the hotel, and that the characters have accepted as natural).

    But also the movie is just wickedly funny. I kept thinking this is what Earth would look like to a visiting alien species. It does what all good speculative fiction does, taking the familiar and making it strange (or, well, alien). Like Henry Gale, it didn't necessarily blow me away and I even agree that it sometimes feels like it's sort of grazing over some of its ideas. It doesn't feel as focused and uncompromising as Dogtooth, and there are only two scenes that I feel push into those uncomfortable spaces that Dogtooth explored so expertly, but I also wonder if part of that is just a Hollywood cast making things feel a bit more palatable and cozy. There's no nudity, for example, which sounds like a weird thing to complain about, but its noticeable in retrospect given how frank Lanthimos has been exploring and depicting sexuality in the past. That's irrelevant, though. The overall portrait this movie paints has resonated strongly after the fact. I can't shake that ending, it was absolutely heartbreaking.
    Giving up in 2020. Who cares.

    Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch) ***
    Ashes (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) **½
    Atlantiques (Mati Diop) ***
    Exhalation (Edmund Yeo) *
    Inhalation (Edmund Yeo) *½

  5. #5
    the maker of my own evil Ivan Drago's Avatar
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    I have tickets to see this (AND HIGH-RISE!!!!!!) as special presentations at the Nashville Film Festival this weekend. I am beyond excited.
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  6. #6
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    It came out in Thailand November last year. If the second half was able to sustain the deadpan, thought-provoking, and quiet absurdity of its first, this could have been one of my favorites of the year (and maybe even surpassing Dogtooth which I loved). The change in setting, however, leads to an air of deflation for me. It never gets uninteresting, exactly, but the feeling of reckless inventiveness and comedic momentum goes way down when it introduces a somewhat 'conventional' arc proper. Still, this premise is too gold and Yorgos Lanthimos too skilled for the film not to be consistently good. All the actors never miss a delicous beat of the dryly batshit lines they're given too.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
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  7. #7
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    This was so, so, so, soooo funny. My face hurts from grinning for so long. Pretty much the best movie I've seen this year.

    I can't think of a better Colin Farrell performance than this. His tone control was amazing.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  8. #8
    Cya all later MadMan's Avatar
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    Another interesting movie that won't come to where I live. That's okay I have other means...

  9. #9
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    The film is so deadpan with every fibre of its being that watching this by myself, before everyone started comfortably referring to it as a comedy, it didn't always overtly play that way to me. But like I said before, as it went it snuck up on me and obviously still got some major laughs out of me. The aforementioned [
    ] made me laugh for like five minutes. Just so brutal.

    I just love that A24 got Farrell do the full American talk show circuit (morning, day-time, late-night) and a wide-release-style press junket for this, as if it's going to fit into the weekend plans of people like your mom and your co-workers. I saw a whole segment on Extra trying to figure out how to explain it. ("In Colin's truly bizarre new [half-second pause] comedy, The Lobster..") Guess which question they asked him?! ("What animal would you want to be?" )

    Also, literally every interview I saw mentioned the 40 pounds of weight he put on for the role, keeping burgers, fries, cake and pop on his night stand. All just to make the man look regular.

    Anyway, I hope it continues to expand well (considering it had the third best per-screen average this past weekend) since it is something pretty special that's grown even more in my mind over time. Starting to really want to see it again.
    Last edited by Henry Gale; 06-02-2016 at 09:40 AM.
    Last 11 things I really enjoyed:

    Speed Racer (Wachowski/Wachowski, 2008)
    Safe (Haynes, 1995)
    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Parker, 1999)
    Beastie Boys Story (Jonze, 2020)
    Bad Trip (Sakurai, 2020)
    What's Up Doc? (Bogdanovich, 1972)
    Diva (Beineix, 1981)
    Delicatessen (Caro/Jeunet, 1991)
    The Hunger (Scott, 1983)
    Pineapple Express (Green, 2008)
    Chungking Express (Wong, 1994)

  10. #10
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
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    This is phenemonal. Like others have noted, that first hour is absolutely magnificent and on par with the constant one-upping of Dogtooth. Where that first hour is black humor, the second hour veers toward black tragedy, piling insult and suffering onto one another rather than letting Farrell observe it from a distance.

    When we were leaving the theatre, Sarah and I both felt that the first hour was astounding, but I keep coming to images from both parts in the last few days. It's got a fine gauge of tonal irregularity, finally seeming like one of Bong Joon-ho's films in the way that it dances between tone in the matter of minutes.

    The final image (or scandalously unanswered image) is a bit too simple--I wish that the narrative conceit didn't exist with Winshaw's character--it dampens my appreciation of that finale as it feels just a little too neat.

    This or Love and Friendship are my favorites so far...
    Ant-Man and the Wasp - 5
    Hereditary - 7
    Won't You Be My Neighbor? - 7.5
    The Tale - 8

  11. #11
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    What, the commonality? That's a pretty important part of its critique of couplings, though. It wouldn't be as tragic without that conceit.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  12. #12
    quarantined Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    I can't think of a better Colin Farrell performance than this. His tone control was amazing.
    I don't think he gets nearly enough credit for his ability.
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  13. #13
    I never realized how much Colin Farrell looks like Ned Flanders.
    Just because...
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  14. #14
    Screenwriter Philip J. Fry's Avatar
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    Well now you can determine your second chance animal. Fun.


  15. #15
    Didn't love or hate it; about in line with my response to Dogtooth. The premise is well conceptualized for sure, but I'm not sure it's mined for all its worth before its turn to a more conventional forbidden lovers tale. The deadpan stuff generally works. It's a funny movie (though for pure laughs, I still prefer Farrell's performance in In Bruges). Not sure the film does enough for the audience to extend its leap-of-faith to the second half, which, while as outwardly preposterous as the first, doesn't seem to have the same internal logic within its closed system. I think Lanthimos could have made a bolder choice at the end, rather than opt for rote indie ambiguity. That said, he stays true to his style. His tone, humor and ideas translate well from Euro to U.S. sensibilities, and the film will hit all the sweet spots for his fans.
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  16. #16
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    I liked this film a lot, but I did not love the ending. The cast is stellar, the offbeat (and occasionally cruel) humor is pitched beautifully, the surreal logic of the world is resonant and clever. I'm not sure that the final moments provide the kind of revelation or emotional escalation that make me feel like I've had a full experience. The problem may be that the best scenes are with the heartless woman, providing the peak in humor, pain and crisis, but leaving what comes later feeling a tad superfluous. There are many aspects of the 'loner' scenes that I enjoyed. But I don't feel that the film leaves us with its best material.
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  17. #17
    Quote Quoting Philip J. Fry (view post)
    Well now you can determine your second chance animal. Fun.

    I'll be a rabbit, which I'm ok with because I just watched Zootopia.

  18. #18
    I have read some people complain that the allegory (the pressure to couple, the biological clock ticking away) doesn't really track once the film switches focus in the second half, but I think that is a rather harsh tack to take for a film that is this funny; why hold this up to a different standard than we would something like Hot Rod (also very funny)? That said, the second half is a let down, but not because it cannot be as tightly tied to real-world commentary as the first half - it's more to do with the lumpy storytelling ([
    ]

    Still... it's hilarious throughout, allegory be damned.
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  19. #19
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    I kinda feel that that is the allegory. That people don't really know what they want out of a relationship, they just fall into cultural signposts. Stay Puft already went into this more earlier, but I took the second half of the movie as an indictment of the philosophy of opting out as equally restrictive as the societal expectations of coupling up, because it runs counter to a human need to conform. I think it rings extra true for David to flee from one fascist construct to an opposite but ultimately similar one.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  20. #20
    I wasn't necessarily debating whether the allegory held up or not, just opining that it was irrelevant to the success of the film, which is hilarious. My gripes with the second half are the plot mechanics, rather than the subtext.
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    El
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  21. #21
    Screenwriter Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    ...

    I can't think of a better Colin Farrell performance than this. His tone control was amazing.
    I totally agree - but I think a lot of that might be due to the director. I say this because Colin would have fit in perfectly in Dogtooth. I think Yorgos is getting a consistently unique style of performance out of all his actors in both movies.
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  22. #22
    Screenwriter Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting DavidSeven (view post)
    ...I think Lanthimos could have made a bolder choice at the end, rather than opt for rote indie ambiguity. ...
    The same thing at the end of Dogtooth - I think it's his MO.
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  23. #23
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    I only vaguely remember Alps, but I think it had an ambiguous ending too.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  24. #24
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    My god I loved this movie. It's so twisted and hilarous. Happy I saw it before the Match Cuts.

    "He thought about kicking her in the stomach... over and over again" Out of context this isn't funny. In the movie I died.

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  25. #25
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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