Victoria Jelinek


The Lobster

MV5BNDQ1NDE5NzQ1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA5OTM2NTE@._V1_UY1200_CR108,0,630,1200_AL_The film takes place in a dystopian world where single people are sent to a hotel and given 45 days to find a romantic match or they will be turned into the animal of their choice. Ostensibly, as an animal, they are given a “second chance” to find love. Our hero, Colin Farrell’s desolate architect David, is dumped by his wife and immediately sent to the hotel in the company of his brother, who is now a border collie, having failed the 45 day time limit to find a match earlier.

There are several elements that make this film worth seeing: the Kafkaesque meditation on modern society’s preoccupation with coupling, as well as its increasing desensitization, is much appreciated, fresh and noble; there is dark humor; our hero’s reasoning behind his choice to be a lobster is interesting; and the ensemble cast is very good, inclusive of Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Lea Seydoux. Moreover, a few of the incidents in the film will haunt me for a long time, which is arguably a good thing because the images were vivid enough to sear themselves into my cerebral cortex. However, there is absolutely no relief for the viewer in what is an exhaustingly morose take on humanity in some alternative reality, or in some not-so-distant future world.

 

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Carnage

Two pairs of parents (Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz) have a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a fight with each other. But as their time together progresses, and coffee is replaced by whiskey, the veneer of amenity is removed, and the barbs and revelations come out.

Directed by Roman Polanski (Chinatown, Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, The Ghost Writer) this is a dark, intellectual and extremely funny film; this viewer was guffawing and snickering throughout. We don’t know exactly what happened between the two sons of the respective couples – it doesn’t really matter as a plot, because this is a showcase for good writing and fine actors to portray four characters in detail. But even as the main characters are well-developed, realistic and interesting, it’s a short film (79 min).

Polanski and his quartet of excellent actors should all be nominated for an Oscar.  This is a darkly comic film worth seeing.