I think this should be our last outing for a while.
Because it’s weird?
Yeah. Because it’s weird.
In Lamb, Ross Partridge plays a loser adrift, a man who’s failed at most everything he’s tried. Oona Laurence is a troubled young girl that he befriends after a chance encounter in a parking lot. To say this movie is unsettling would be understating it substantially. The film gives us only brief looks at the lives of these characters outside of each other, but enough for us to see that their lives are pretty badly screwed up. In a way, then, this is a story of two wounded souls finding each other. In another way, it’s quite disturbing. There’s never a single hint of sexuality between the two characters, but somehow the film is all the creepier for it. A movie about a pedophile would have been horrifying; a movie about a guy in his forties and a pre-teen girl going, as they eventually do, on a road-trip together is far more disturbing and icky in some ways. There are scenes all through this where I was sitting in the audience just squirming and cringing in my chair. It’s a discomfiting movie, but in a really compelling and artistic way. The film really works because of the performances. Ross Partridge is an actor/writer/director in the indie scene, but I’d never even heard of him until this movie. He’s really incredibly good, able to be creepy, pathetic or deeply sorrowful depending on the moment. Oona Laurence (you might have seen her in Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw) is really amazing as well. She communicates really well the “old soul” character. In her eyes and her voice, you see a pain beyond her age. These moments make the moments when she really reveals her childishness quite jarring. It’s a tightrope walk of a performance. Lamb is ultimately not a movie for everyone. I’m not a big fan of trigger warnings, but seriously . . . this could trigger some pretty intense stuff for a viewer with a history of abuse. But it’s a really moving character study and it’s an engaging film because you certainly have no idea where it’s going to end up. It’s slow, meditative and beautifully shot. It’s a strange film that I just discovered by accident at my local art-house; I’m damned glad I did. It’s a quiet, unassuming, disturbing, evocative masterpiece. 4 stars.
tl;dr – tale of unlikely friendship is creepy, painful, sorrowful and meditative; a pair of magnificent lead performances lift the film to masterpiece status. 4 stars.