A24 is a distribution company that focuses primarily on providing relatively larger-scale releases to films that wouldn’t otherwise get such a wide set of eyes. Whether it be strange and profound indie films, experimental horror films, foreign films or a mix of all three, A24 has cemented itself as a premier distributor of the experimental.
Their latest release is “Lamb,” an Icelandic film about a young couple (played by actors Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason) that discovers a half-lamb/half-human newborn on their farm and decides to raise the offspring as their own child, naming it Ada.
Right out of the gate, viewers can understand the appeal of a plot that sounds so insane that you have to see it to believe it. And while the film does reach those points of pure insanity that come from this premise, it’s in the smaller-scale scenes and the completely straight-faced tone where this film truly shines.
One’s first assumption when going into a film like this would be for it to not take itself very seriously, to lean into the campiness of the premise and just go all in on the absurdity in an attempt to give the audience exactly what they want.
However, “Lamb” is not that kind of film, and instead takes itself incredibly seriously for the majority of the runtime.
The film doesn’t focus entirely on the semantics of why Ada exists, but uses it as a jumping-off point to explore the themes of family, healing relationships and finding inner peace within oneself.
Before Ada enters the picture, we are shown a portrait of a struggling couple that goes about their day-to-day routine with the lingering feeling of dread and disappointment, spawning from a number of past events that are expanded upon by the end of the film.
More importantly, however, the addition of Ada as a part of this couple’s lives acts as a form of mutually accepted commitment between the couple, as well as a healing mechanism that helps mend their relationship and remove the emotional weights that they’ve had on their shoulders.
Most of what works extremely well with this film comes as a result of the fantastic performances from Rapace and Hilmir, which come on screen almost entirely through facial expression and mannerisms, as the film is very soft-spoken and limited on dialogue in general.
The lack of dialogue serves a number of positive effects, as it makes the film more accessible for an international audience, while also amplifying the subtle, but crucial, details on screen.
“Lamb” is definitely a weird film — and not in the way you’d expect — but that doesn’t stop the film from being highly worthy of your viewing.