Continuing the release of trailers for movies that played at Cannes is the latest from director Giorgos Lanthimos called The Lobster. The Greek director has made a career out of making films that are challenging studies of identity, most prevalent in the films Dogtooth and Alps. With his English debut, he gets a lot of high profile actors to tell what is probably one of the strangest stories yet. If a man doesn't marry, he will turn into a lobster. To most of you, you likely checked out, baffled by that plot description. However, I do think that the first trailer at very least looks to be an entertaining romp.
What I find interesting is when foreign language directors tackle the English language. For most audiences, it is likely their first exposure. In 2013, Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook released Stoker: a film so confident that you wouldn't notice the language barrier. This year sees another two of my favorites (who played at Cannes) jump over the pond. There was the promising Joachim Trier film Louder Than Bombs, and now The Lobster. While Trier's work may be a little less known to Oscar fans, I do think his simpleness in brooding is a key factor to why he works. You may know Lanthimos better thanks to his Best Foreign Film Oscar nominated film Dogtooth. It's funny, disturbing, and reflects one of the finest directors currently working.
It is why he's probably among my most anticipated for the year ahead. True, everyone may have a negative opinion about Colin Farrell following the awful second season of True Detective, but the reviews have been frequently positive for The Lobster. Some would even consider it better than the Palme d'Or winner Dheepan by director Jacques Audiard. I cannot comment, as I generally like the work of everyone I have mentioned. However, the promise of more surreal comedy in a bizarre setting at least gives me hope that this will have some appeal stateside.
Check out the trailer below:
It looks very funny. Possibly even funnier than his previous film Alps, which was an effective dark comedy laced with powerful drama. I will admit that maybe it's a little hard to sell this film realistically because had I not known that this was a Lanthimos movie, it does strike me as consistently a mid-00's high concept comedy import from England. The most obvious reasoning is the use of classical music. While I think it works just fine, the selection is a little novelty and only plays up the absurdity in a manner that makes this feel like more of a gimmick than a genuine film. Then again, I don't know how true to tone it will be. Knowing Lanthimos' last few films, I cannot say that the music works.
But the rest gives me hope that this will have some appeal when it eventually comes out. I like most of the people involved and the high praise from reputable sources only makes me more excited. I mostly hope that a lot of what makes the director very impressive isn't lost in translation and that the results are superb. For now, I will admit that the footage has won me over and the various quibbles are rather funny. Please let this be good. I really don't want to see Lanthimos fail.