Sometime in the future, all single people, regardless of circumstance (loners, the divorced, the widowed, the brokenhearted), are shipped off to a remote resort in the middle of the woods. While there, they’re given 45 days to find a suitable life partner or they’re turned into a creature (of their choosing, if they obey the rules) and turned loose in the wild. After flaming out of the program and escaping the Hotel, David (Colin Farrell) joins up with a band of loners that roam the woods, but their rules and regulations on cohabitation and survival are almost as bad as the Hotel’s.

The Lobster (named after the crustacean David would like to become should he fail in his quest to find a mate) sees still up-and-coming Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos making his English language debut. The results are largely successful, but will hardly be to everyone’s tastes, as The Lobster is a bleak, relentlessly deadpan and dryly witty comedy of manners.

Lanthimos gives his cast plenty to work, and have fun, with, despite no characters other than Farrell’s even being given a name. The writer/director fully utilizes Farrell’s splendid and frequently untapped ability to deliver even the silliest dialogue with a straight face and impeccable timing. It’s the actor’s best performance since In Bruges.

The only downside is that it’s two films in one, with the second being somewhat less interesting and in danger of wearing out its welcome. Still, it’s certainly original and very funny, if you can tune into Lanthimos’s wavelength.

Is The Lobster essential festival viewing?

Yes, but you really have to like your humour of the dry and quirky variety at the same time.

The Lobster screening times

The Lobster trailer