Lamb is an Icelandic drama film that is the feature-length directorial debut for Vladmir Jóhannsson, who also co-wrote the film with Sjón.
Set in rural Iceland, we are introduced to childless sheep farmers María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) who seem happy together working on their farm, but there also seems to be a sadness shared between the two. One day one of their sheep gives birth to a sheep with anthropomorphic qualities. The two decide to raise the child as if it was their own which makes the two farmers truly happy.
This film has quite a lot to unpack, and it is hard to do it justice without revealing too much. This film needs to be seen to be believed, as it is very unorthodox. But with that being said, I liked the concept, but I did not think that it was executed very well. Lamb felt very uneven as it jumps around from being a sweet story to very creepy one. There is an unsettling vibe throughout the film, which makes it hard to feel comfortable while you are watching.
A couple of positives that I took away from Lamb is that the Icelandic countryside makes for a nice filming location for a dramatic thriller like this, as the hills and the fog adds to uncomfortable nature of this film. Although I felt that the cast delivered fine acting performances, it is Noomi Rapace that is the standout performer of this film. Her character María is very protective of her adopted child, will not let anything get in her way and will stop at nothing to make sure that no-one takes her child away from her. The film also displays sheep giving birth with the actors appearing to know what they are doing, which I was quite impressed with.
Lamb is a film that is very promising, and it will leave you scratching your head and thinking, “What did I just watch?”. Sadly, it ends up being a little underwhelming despite its unique ideas and premise.
Lamb premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, was selected as the Icelandic entry at the 94th Academy Awards and is in Australian cinemas now.