Hmm, I think that this was generally quite a divisive film: some people loved it, others hated it and I was curious to see where I would land with it.
It all takes place in a world where it is compulsory to find love and to be part of a couple, single people having to reside in a cult-like hotel where everyone has 45 days to find love. If unsuccessful, they must be transformed into an animal of their choosing and the film’s main character David (Colin Farrell) soon escapes and finds himself in the woods outside of the hotel, among a community of “loners”, which includes a short-sighted woman (Rachel Weisz) who he strikes up a relationship with.
As mentioned in some other reviews, I found this to be a film of two distinct halves. The first, which takes place inside the hotel is wonderfully unique, darkly comic and definitely odd. The central premise of compulsory partnership with the eventual outcome of being turned into an animal is so original, executed with an unnerving, peculiar atmosphere and with a certain dark humour that works well, the line “there’s blood and biscuits everywhere” being a particular highlight. The film has an impressive cast that includes Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Wishaw, John C. Reilly, Ashley Jensen, Michael Smiley and national treasure Olivia Colman and they all perform very well.
Unfortunately, the second half wherein Colin Farrell’s character finds himself in the loner community gets quite dull and it is in this section of the film where the film loses the plot and spirals out of control. The narrative often shifts to the city, the “real world”, and I found this to be very offputting, wanting the film to return to the hotel; the unique quality that the film had slowly disappears and whatever meaning it once had is soon lost. I often found myself zoning out, losing a great deal of interest in the characters and the story and just waiting for it all to end.
All this being said, it is good to see that such an odd, mysterious film is being talked about so much and the story’s unique premise is certainly admirable.