Lamb ★★★½

Baad Baabe

"Ada is a gift."

If Lamb has done anything for me, it's just reminded me how badly I want to go back to Iceland. What a beautiful country, and Lamb's cinematography has a really alluring soft tone that makes the whole film feel like a dream.

Noomi Rapace really sells whatever it is that she's going through here as Maria, the strained relationship, the desire for motherhood, the claustrophobia in such a large and boundless landscape, Lamb is a film of parallels and paradoxes. Hilmir Snær Guðnason's Ingvar and Björn Hlynur Haraldsson's Pétur feel like two warring sides of Maria's character, representing her conflicting desire to be a mother tied to her land, and a free spirit with no responsibility or baggage. It really puts the microscope on her throughout the film, and as Ada is introduced and more is revealed, the film begins to mold itself like a fairytale that could easily be seen as an allegory for the delicate balance between people and nature, one that is so revered within Icelandic communities; particularly their beliefs in supernatural counterparts that they share their land with.

Valdimar Jóhannsson's approach to Lamb, both through writing and directing seems very naturalistic. Within the narrative, nature is simple and nothing more than a living force, seen present within every breathing thing on-screen, and even the gorgeous landscapes. And the way he shoots his scenes, it's clear he has an understanding of how things just need to be. The drama here is to be read between the lines, but when Jóhannsson gears up to a finale that puts too much pressure on one note, it finishes in a less than spectacular way.

Lamb wants to be a gentle musing on parenthood, and an eerie horror surrounding the unapologetic power of nature, but it struggles to be both.

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