It’s fundamentally irritating when someone is dead set on shocking you. Full of pride and vague malice, it’s a weirdly authoritarian impulse – a gesture of control that both insults you by assuming you’re a delicate flower who will wilt under the awesome power of the image, while simultaneously flattering itself by imagining the spectacle is so awesomely powerful in the first place.
The Lobster, Greek writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos’ deadpan dystopia and English-language debut, plays its fairy-tale absurdity completely straight, and its weird power accumulates from there.
A plot summary reads as farce, and there are certainly farcical elements. In a world that is recognizably ours and yet exhibits all the trappings of a near-future period piece, or maybe a Wes Anderson whimsy turned poisonous, coupledom is the norm: singles are sequestered into a castle-like hotel and given 45 days to find their mate.