Much of the best science-fiction isn’t actually about the science, but about society. This year’s Ex Machina had a lot of surface about robots and humanity, but it could instead be read as really being about misogyny. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is about relationships and the importance of memory. And The Lobster, a hit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (winning the coveted Jury Prize) looks to be another entry into the canon of such films. With one small difference that is: despite a premise seemingly right out of a classic dystopian, it would be a surprise if there is any sign of futuristic technology in the film at all.
This will be the first feature-length English-language film of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose previous works include the films Alps and Canino and the critically acclaimed Oscar-nominated Dogtooth. In The Lobster, we are presented with a dystopian future revolving around the idea that it is much better to be in a couple than it is to be single, no matter the suitability of that couple. Hence, single people are taken to The Hotel, to mix and mingle in the hope of finding another half. But if in the space of 45 days they cannot find anyone, they are transformed into beasts (of their choosing) and sent off into The Woods, never to return to The City. Colin Farrell plays a single man in such a scenario, who goes by the name of David.
The supporting cast is rounded out by the familiar likes of John C. Reilly, Rachel Weisz and soon-to-be Bond girl Lea Seydoux, amongst others, offering a plethora of incredible acting talent. It’s very hard to know what else to say about this upcoming anomaly however. From all the praise that has been awarded it, it sounds like more of a Wes Anderson art-special than a sci-fi, but the few images available show landscapes and costumes without that particular director’s flair for colour or style. One thing is for sure however, it will almost certainly not be to everyone’s tastes.
Described as an absurdist comedy, it is highly likely to feature Lanthimos’ trademark dark wit which, although making waves with some, will likely shut down others entirely. But the very idea at the film’s core remains fascinating, and sounds like a definite effort to reflect social pressures and the challenges of human companionship in the real world. If all goes well, it could be another classic of social sci-fi like those mentioned earlier, without being even the slightest bit similar.
The Lobster (2015), directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, is expected to be released in the UK on 16th October 2015 by Picturehouse Entertainment. Certificate TBC.