If you ask a person that has not watched “The Lobster” yet, if they can imagine a Sci-Fi movie with no visual effects the answer would most likely be a ‘No’. After experiencing “Under the Skin” (2013) and even “Ex Machina” (2015) it is not far from reality to expect more independent Science Fiction productions coming in the next years. Economically speaking, making a Sci-Fi without any spaceships, dinosaurs or other expensive creatures seems like a convenient playground for independent movie makers, interested in this conspicuously extravagant genre.
Where are the icons and elements distinguishing a movie as a Sci-Fi, if there are no aliens, dinosaurs, iron mans, hobbits or not even one single dobby? Science Fiction is a genre that aims to develop an imaginary universe. It implies often the existence of a supernatural and extraordinary forms of life and systems. What makes “The Lobster” a Sci-Fi movie lies in the text. It exists in what the characters say and not in what we see. The image shows an ordinary world where the main character wears normal cloth, sleeps in a normal bed and has a dog. But the diegesis (universe) of the film is bigger than what we see. We can only see what happens on-screen, but we know that there are things happening off-screen such as people turning into animals if they don't find a partner within a certain amount of days.
What happens off-screen exists in the universe of the film but we never get the chance to see them. Therefore whatever we see carries always further levels. For example if we see the dog, we also see a person who turned into this animal or every time we see David (Colin Farrell) we can also imagine him turning into a lobster in the future. Accordingly, the movie contains a ‘meta level’ (Metaebene). There is a level of existence beyond the ordinary-look image that we see. An extraordinary, strange and bizarre system that doesn’t let us see the ordinary world of ours while watching the movie. what happens in off-screen becomes more important than what we see on-screen. At the same time, We feel detached from the universe of “The Lobster” much the same as we are detached from the universe of “Lord of the Rings”.
“The lobster” happens in another universe, but every thing looks the same as the universe we live in. Our universe is taken out and is placed in a different context. In a context which is distanced from norms and rules of the ordinary world. The audience experiences 'the estrangement effect' (Verfremdungseffekt) while watching “The Lobster”. In 1951 Marcel Duchamp put a bicycle wheel in a museum. He wanted the audience to see the wheel once again, but in a place where it doesn't belong. He was hoping that his audience becomes able of seeing the object differently and maybe better through experiencing the estrangement effect. “The Lobster” gives us the chance to see our universe from above, while competition, anxiety, fear and other masking curtains of everyday life prevent us from seeing how it really looks like.
“The Lobster” challenges any extremist system with a cynical and sharp language.