review by Bobby Blakey
Ever since I first saw Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish Millennium series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, I have been a fan. I knew nothing of her latest film Lamb co-starring Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, and Ingvar E. Sigurðsson with special effects technician Valdimar Jóhannsson making his feature debut. Could this film bring something engaging to the audience or should be kept in the barn?
Lamb follows a childless couple in rural Iceland make an alarming discovery one day in their sheep barn. They soon face the consequences of defying the will of nature in this dark and atmospheric folktale. Knowing nothing about this film is the exact way it should be seen. Don’t watch trailer, don’t read about it just go in and witness what unfolds before you.
This is the kind of film that is actually hard to review because I don’t want to give any elements or possible direction away on any level as that is what makes it work. It is a strange and sometimes unnerving film that is far from a horror film, but something that might put some people off. On the surface there is a strange story with some pretty out there concepts, but if you can see deeper to what it is saying there is so much more. It is delving into loss, happiness, nature and so much more making it a compelling film like no other.
The visuals are stunning with the Icelandic backdrop almost a character all its own. The surrounding look and ongoing daylight creates an element that keeps you investing and never really knowing what time of day it is or what will be happening from where. This is a simple element but is so visually stimulating that it breaths a fresh air into the film and elevates even further than its already compelling story.
The film is limited in dialogue allowing the performers to showcase more physical acting in their mannerisms and expressions with them all saying so much while saying so little. As the film moves along and thins get stranger you can see tehe characters change along with it both good and bad. There are
moments you would think there would be some more outlandish reactions, but it’s like they know more than they ever let on to the audience. The finale is one that will no doubt divide audiences as it offers up an unexplained meaning to it all that does in fact have a meaning but you might have to define it yourself. It’s abruptness may leave you feeling unfulfilled and with more questions or walking away with your own changes to your thinking based on what you got from it.
Love it or hate this is a film that says something exactly as films should. It makes you shake your head in confusion, baffle in the lack of explanation while making you think and truly reflect for the exact same reason. It’s a slow paced piece of art with something to say, but its message will no doubt be something different for everyone and that is exactly what it should be.
Decide for yourself and check out Lamb in theaters now from A24.