The cinematic worlds that Yorgos Lanthimos creates are defined by their rules and codes of behaviour, and the drama in them comes from the consequences faced by characters who cross those lines. In his sci-fi satire The Lobster, single people must find a mate within 45 days or face transformation into the animal of their choice – an absurd premise that is played to deadpan comic perfection by the director and his superbly chosen ensemble.
The Lobster finds Lanthimos working with more familiar actors and a bigger budget than he enjoyed in his previous three features, but this elevated status hasn’t blunted his edge, and his ability to combine arch humour and outbursts of shocking violence is as potent as ever here. The only misstep occurs in a lengthy woodland interlude, where the narrative briefly seems to have reached a dead end, but Lanthimos pulls it together for an unsettling climax, and the film’s perceptive commentary on the nature of contemporary relationships and society will leave you with plenty to think about and discuss. [Philip Concannon]