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.
For the near-entirety of its 80 minute running time, Blue Jay is a resolutely understated affair, more interested in partially-concealed longing and lingering, unspoken hurt than emotional fireworks.
Alex Lehman‘s character study comes pretty close to blowing this tone in its final moments, as we’re treated to outbursts we didn’t ask for and the film doesn’t need, but up until that point, it’s a lovely portrait of two people navigating their shared pasts and conflicted presents.
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.