Movie review: Cynical yet sweet "Lobster" redefines the dark rom-com

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

So I've been singing the praises of A24 Films for a few years now, as the company has distributed some of the best and most refreshingly original movies in recent history.

Well, the studio has gone and done it again, and the latest film released under its banner may be the most wildly original yet.

A lot will lie in whether you think the premise of "The Lobster" is genius or idiotic, as well as whether or not you're OK with some unexplained bits not getting in the way of a really ingenious allegory for the ups and downs of modern relationships.

So here's that wild premise you need to get on board with. David (Colin Farrell) is a recently divorced man living in a bizarre near-future world where single people are rounded up and taken to a luxury hotel resort. This is worse than it sounds.

In said hotel, people have 45 days to find a romantic partner. If they do not, they will be turned into an animal of their choosing and set loose into the woods for another opportunity to find love.

My best advice for viewing "The Lobster" is to just roll with it. The satire is uncanny, and its salty-sweet mix of cynicism and hope about finding love makes for one of the best dark date movies in years.

If you've seen "Dogtooth," the breakout work of "Lobster" director Yorgos Lanthimos, you'll have a frame of reference. Here we have a clinically efficient nightmare society a la Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" given a romantic twist.

"The Lobster" also plays on the societal pressure to couple up, tackles cripplingly painful loneliness and ultimately offers a view on love that is cynical and sweet, somehow at the same time.

It's also a remarkably dark comedy anchored by a perfect deadpan performance from Farrell. The calm acceptance of this bizarre society - single people are literally hunted down and rounded up for pairing - makes it all the funnier.

The unabashed strangeness of the whole affair will mean only some audiences need apply. For me, this is easily the most original movie of the year, and it's also one of the best.

"The Lobster"

Opens Friday

4 stars out of 4