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Review of Lamb: A Uneventful Folktale

Review of Lamb: A Uneventful Folktale

Review of Lamb: A Uneventful Folktale

Distributor A24 has just released Lamb. This film is known for Oscar-winning horror films like Minari and The LightHouse as well as many others such as Saint Maud and the Hereditary. A24 is synonymous with high-quality horror and indie films. Fans were excited when the trailer was revealed, revealing another A24 horror classic. This film is misrepresented as a Horror-Thriller. In reality, it’s a Drama with a few “thrill” moments.

Lamb was directed by Valdimar Johannsson. It’s his first feature film . The film is hampered by a weak story that is too long.

STORY: A DARK NEW FOLKTALE

Lamb sounds strangely creepy and chilling on paper but is not as effective in execution. The film’s story, while not the worst part of the film is definitely the least. The film is about a couple who spend their time tending to their lambs in their Icelandic barn. One day, one lamb gives birth to an unusual baby. This leaves the couple confused, but they decide to care for the lamb. A threat unknown is growing on the horizon.

This story has all the ingredients for an intriguing film, just from the way it is written. The mystery focuses on the unusual birth of a lamb and introduces an unsettling presence. This is Lamb‘s general premise, but the film doesn’t really address the mystery and threatening presence it creates.

Maria (Noomi Rapace), and Ingvar, (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason), are both surprised at the birth of the mystery lamb. They aren’t too shocked, however. They accept the oddity of their births without questioning them. Petur (Bjorn Hlynur Hartaldsson) later asks Ingvar about it. Petur asks Ingvar very politely, “What’s the fuck?” To which Ingvar replies, “Happiness.” It is accepted by them, which partially makes the film’s explanation of why they do. Lamb is aware that the audience thinks the exact same thing about Petur but will not answer the question.

Many story points are not answered in the film, which can be frustrating for some. The movie’s choice of what to spend most of its time on is even more frustrating. What is the movie choosing to spend most of its time on? It doesn’t really do anything. The first half of the film is almost empty. However, it doesn’t seem like this at first. Lamb presents an unsettling wintery scene. The snow-covered landscape is accompanied by heavy breathing. Animals are alert, but not completely scared.

It is quite interesting to see that there is something happening here. The scene is only two to three minutes long and then we move on to Maria and Ingvar’s daily lives. We see their mundane everyday lives from this point. It picks up in the second and third acts but nothing really happens.

There is an ending in which things occur, but it doesn’t really justify why the film was told that way. The film’s looming threat seems to be absent for most of its running time, so tension is not built. There isn’t much to discuss when something happens in the film. It just feels like part of everyday life. It doesn’t feel like a twist or story beat or something that will have repercussions later on. We realize that the puzzle we had been working on at the beginning of the film, Lamb, is gone when the film ends. We didn’t care for the final image, but most of the pieces are still there.

CHARACTERS & PERFORMANCES: Quiet, but Powerful

The film’s main focus is on Maria and Ingvar for the majority of lamb. The first act gives the audience a glimpse into the lifestyles of these two. They communicate primarily through facial expressions and gestures, which is unusual for them as they are not very chatty. This is odd because it isn’t immediately obvious. However, the fact that they seem to be just going about their daily lives without much thought is quite striking. It’s almost depressing. However, there are other factors that contribute to the depressing atmosphere like the acting and cinematography.

Rapace and Gudnason are excellent in the film. They convey most of their thoughts through expressions. Unfortunately, neither of them really know much about their characters. The film makes it clear that both of them have a past. This explains why they’re living their lives the way that they do. But that’s just the gist. They don’t. They go from their depressing moods to a happy and cherishing one. Although it’s a significant change, it’s not something that can be fully explored.

This is partly due to the fact that there is very little dialogue in the film. It’s not the end all and be all of filmmaking. Many films create great characters with very little dialogue. Lamb has its own problems here. The film’s visual storytelling relies on more visual storytelling. However, the visuals used are not in support of the characters but rather the mood and the story. Strangely, though, I found myself still caring about these characters. It’s hard to believe that the first act sets up the depressing lifestyle these two live in. When they finally find happiness, it’s nice.

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