A strange movie that will leave ewe curious and stunned at the same time.
I wasn’t exactly sure how the set-up of “Lamb” was gonna go down. The trailers made it look like childless parents finally having a child with a lamb’s head. It is a product of sodomy, is it a splicing lab experiment, or it is a baby lamb and it’s a child in their minds? The trailer doesn’t clarify that, and so it plays “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.
When I saw the whole movie in a theater, I was still left in question about how the lamb was half human, but it’s conceivable that some kind of demon made its way in and raped her. I can’t call it a masterpiece, but I can describe it as a curious movie that kept me interested. I wanted to see it’s true nature. Besides, it’s not like we see this type of movie all the time. I guess it’s going to have to be now.
The childless parents are Maria (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason), and they’re both sheep farmers in Iceland, who feed them and deliver their offspring. The next little lamb moves the couple to the point of them raising her like their own child. They even give her a crib, a lullaby, a bedtime story, and a name Ada.
Of course, the lamb’s real family is not happy about this. One of them tries and fails to take the baby away, so I guess you could say the humans and sheep are having a custody battle.
The reasons why “Lamb” is labeled a horror movie include the bleating, a nightmare where the sheep’s eyes glow yellow, a picture of the herd resembling something out of the 1921 Overlook Hotel photo from “The Shining,” and what the little lamb becomes. And there are other reasons I can’t spoil or completely understand.
As promised, Ada has a lamb’s head and a human body. At times, it looks like a real human child with a realistic lamb mask on, and at other times, it looks like a sheep sitting in human clothes. It all depends on how the camera is aimed at Ada.
Ingvar’s unlucky ex-musician brother Petur (Bjorn Hlynur Haroldsson), who comes to visit, is appalled and speechless by the arrival of his wooly niece, but Ingvar, being the father, tells him not to intervene in their lives.
Being that this is an international artisan feature, the brother doesn’t ask “How the Hell did this happen?” or “Am I missing something here?,” but rather he says: “You’re the one being a child” or “that’s not a child, it’s an animal.”
Did either Maria or Ingvar even consider what they’re going to do when it becomes a teenager, let alone an adult? Will they homeschool her or keep her hidden from the world like in “The Hunchback of Norte Dame?” I’m not sure the movie was supposed to ponder on them.
“Lamb” has its questions, but it’s also an original film with fine, reserved performances from Rapace, Guðnason, and Haroldsson, a chilling scope, and a wavy tone that either goes quiet or sneaks up on you. But mostly, it’s a looking film with radiant images by cinematographer Eli Arenson and writer/director Valdimar Johansson in his debut. I love how the humans and sheep are placed, as well as its cloudy, sometime sunny, and wet atmosphere. It really sets the mood and tone of the picture.
If I catch you seeing “Lamb” in person, you’re either going to talk amongst yourselves or tell me what you thought of it. I can pretty much guess the reaction, but I saw some things I don’t often see in movies. Besides, the best surprise comes during the end.