REVIEW / FILM REVIEW – The talented Noomi Rapace is back in “Lamb”, an Icelandic production directed by director Valdimar Johannsson in which the actress raises a strange lamb.
Lamb : the divine child
Noomi Rapace leaves Hollywood madness for a while to return to a simpler film, far from big budgets and big studios. Here she is again diving in Iceland, the place of her childhood, in a fantastical drama with horrific overtones, intriguing and effective. Minimalist and contemplative film, Lamb tells the daily life of a couple of sheep herders, Maria and Ingvar, who live in seclusion in the Icelandic mountains. When they discover a mysterious newborn baby, with an unsightly physique and unknown origin, they decide to keep and raise him as their own child. Lamb is that kind of cinematic UFO like we don’t do much of it.
Amazing fantasy film, the feature film offers a minimalist approach to the subject despite themes that could quickly have turned to horror. But Valdimar Johannsson still keeps a form of calm and simplicity in his story. The filmmaker refuses to transpose his story, which nevertheless lends itself perfectly to it, in a dimension of classic horror. Even though the film retains a disturbing identity and a sometimes oppressive and unhealthy atmosphere, never Lamb does not fall into overbidding or into a desire to impress his audience visually or by an ostentatious staging.
Valdimar Johannsson thus offers a simple staging, without show, which is based on superb natural settings, a restricted presence of dialogues, and an icy and constantly disturbing atmosphere. Lamb thus remains at the border between fantastic and horror, without ever completely falling into the second category.
Valdimar Johannsson deals with universal themes, but with its own personality. Lamb thus derives the clichés of parenthood. His feature film finally tells a story of education, parenthood, facing these two characters who find a newborn almost fallen from the sky. A miracle for this couple who cannot have children (or at least seem to have lost one). A miracle that can quickly turn into a nightmare. The filmmaker thus plays with this cinematographic cliché and confronts the concept of a couple with childhood, education, inheritance.
An approach that sometimes recalls the excellent Vivarium, especially in his development of the role of parent, simple ferryman, simple agent of life, who gives everything to his offspring, before passing the weapon to the left. A theme treated once again with a unique style, by a desire to stay in a form of simplicity that constantly threatens to explode.
Lamb also stops on ancient mountain creature theme. Valdimar Johannsson rework clichés from monster movies, deformity, uniqueness. Between dreams and nightmares, via a unique style and an aesthetic design of the newborn and the creature intentionally disturbing, the filmmaker offers an intelligent replay. Lamb is a unique descendant, an unexpected branch of stories like those of the Yeti, Splice, ofElephant man or from The Gevaudan’s beast. An old theme transformed, modernized, and above all unique under the eyes of Valdimar Johannsson, taken to the extreme until a thrilling, impressive and totally iconic ending.
Lamb by Valdimar Johannsson, released on December 29, 2021. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.