17. October 2021

Set on a remote farm, Lamb is more than a shaggy sheep story


LAMB ★★½

MA (106 minutes), chosen cinemas

What’s with the vogue for movies named after livestock? Valdimar Johannsson’s Lamb has discovered its approach to Australian cinemas simply a week after the Nicolas Cage automobile Pig. Throw in First Cow from earlier within the 12 months, and we’re midway to a field set.

Director Valdimar Johannsson’s Lamb delves into magical realism but leaves ample room for speculation.

Director Valdimar Johannsson’s Lamb delves into magical realism however leaves ample room for hypothesis.Credit:

As it occurs, First Cow and Lamb are each dropped at us by the American firm A24, recognized for straddling the road between arthouse and style cinema. The cynical view could be that what we’re seeing right here is a type of branding – utilizing a mascot to assist a small title stand out from the pack.

To put it a bit more neutrally, one factor shared by the three very totally different movies listed above is that they’re actually tales about individuals. Rather than being characters in any full sense, the animals are entities the plot revolves round, acquainted in look but past our ken: in a phrase, uncanny.

Lamb is set on a remote Icelandic farm, run by Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Guonason) and Maria (Noomi Rapace), the kind of couple you would possibly anticipate finding in a folks story: neither outdated nor younger, outwardly at peace however conspicuously childless.

Presumably determined to fill the hole, they undertake the lamb of the title (who is not fairly an atypical lamb) and deal with her like a human daughter, giving her a crib of their bed room and a identify, Ada.

I say “presumably” as a result of this is a movie that leaves a nice deal of room for hypothesis. Dialogue is saved to a minimal, particularly early on, and the conversations that do happen, comparable to a non-sequitur change about time journey, are usually more enigmatic than revealing.

Still, by the point a third human character, Petur (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson), enters the story, Lamb has taken a particular flip in the direction of magic realism – which is about as a lot as I can reveal in flip with out spoilers.

Lamb has been described as a horror film, however this is very a lot a “mileage may vary” scenario. While the preliminary temper is ominous sufficient, the stress has pale a little by the point we get to any kind of payoff.

To maintain our consideration within the meantime, there’s the good-looking widescreen framing: the characters are sometimes set at a distance, seen by means of home windows and so on. The panorama has a contact of Lord of the Rings, with misty mountains not far off, and full-grown rams brooding like magical guardians in imposing close-ups.

Johannsson is not with out audacity, and the shot that lastly tells us the place all this has been heading definitely took me aback. But I’ve to be sincere: it additionally made me burst out laughing. A shaggy sheep story, maybe.

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Stoffel Jansen

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