I have seen my share of strange films but Valdimar Jóhannsson’s Lamb takes the cake. I have never seen anything else like it.
When a couple (Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason) discovers one of the sheep on their farm has given birth to something not completely human, not completely animal, a baby with a human body and a lamb’s head. They set their eyes on the creature they respond with a deadpan reaction like it was an everyday occurrence, and silently go about raising it in a bid to soothe their sorrow for their lost child. The couple’s reactions to the events throughout the movie are downright odd. The first sight of the child they have named Ada is not the only “meh” reaction they have. The two spend much of the film silently going about their business of farming like they are numb.
The film’s location is stunning. It plays out in a remote area of Iceland. The landscape is stunning with views of mountains, fog-swept valleys, and green fields which the child roams as her parents work.
Lamb is unnerving in many ways and triggers an unsettling sense of dread throughout its run time, even in moments of great beauty and positive emotions.
The ending of the film is completely surprising and you won’t see it coming, but unfortunately, it’s not explained, like many things in the movie. It would have been nice to know more.
I was left with the impression that film is at its heart about grief, denial, cruelty, and I feel that it touches on the ethics of experimentation in the medical field in which doctors are currently experimenting with human/sheep hybrids with the goal of creating an effective and quicker way to harvest more organs for those on transplant lists (yes, really).
The special effects are fantastic. While they are minimal in most of the film, the appearance of the child is beautifully created and is seamless. The special effects team really outdid themselves.
If you’re looking for action, Lamb may not be for you. It moves at a snail’s pace with minimal dialogue and leaves you with more questions than answers. In the end, it has an interesting concept but it’s evident it was not made for a lot of movie fans, which is okay.
Lamb is set to be released on October 8, 2021, from A24.