If you’re going to make a movie about a society where the only options are romantic couplehood or losing your humanity, the deadpan absurdist sensibility of Yorgos Lanthimos seems perfect for the task. This story focuses on David (Colin Farrell), who is left by his wife, forcing him per the laws of The City to go to The Hotel, where he has 45 days to find a new romantic partner or face being transformed into the animal of his choosing. Lanthimos and co-writer Efthymis Filippou fill this world with terrific details about the pressure—both physical and psychological—placed on citizens to be paired up, before shifting to The Loners who resist that pressure, including a woman (Rachel Weisz) who is only perfect for David because they’re both nearsighted. It’s often bleakly hilarious as a satire of forced conformity, and even of the different kind of forced conformity within packs of non-conformists. But it’s also far less interested in making any kind of Big Statement than of maintaining its deliberately flat tone and demented sense of humor. The gag may ultimately wear thin, but it’s a hoot while it lasts.
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