Overview: A man meets a young girl in a parking lot and takes her on a journey to his cabin in the woods, where he shows her the beauty of the outside world. The Orchard; 2015; Not Rated; 96 minutes.
Not Quite Kidnapping: A touch of Leon: the Professional with an emphasis on beauty over death, Lamb sports an unusual relationship which consistently floods the film with a sense of unease, but also allows glimmers of touching emotion to shine through. The film follows two people, David, dealing with the death of his father and the departure of his wife, and Tommie, a young eleven-year-old girl who feels invisible to those around her. Both are lost in their own lives; both have found each other. As they embark on a journey that is as much a kidnapping as it is a road trip, they begin to form a meaningful connection – one in which both find fulfillment that their ordinary lives did not have.
Confused with Good Intentions: The films camera-work captures a childlike since of wonderment, the same awe that possesses Tommie as David shows her the inherent beauty of nature that, too often, goes unnoticed. The dilapidated cabin is made to feel homey rather than disgusting or ruinous. Despite its technical precision and intelligent production value, the film struggles thematically, stumbling through many scenes in search of a more substantial and specific meaning. There’s a constant fog of ambiguity that plagues the generalized message, and while, for stretches, it accentuates the weightiness of the characters and the choices, more often than not, it makes the narrative feel derivative or repetitive. Regardless, occasionally, when the pieces click, it is easy to feel affected by the sheer emotional and tonal landscape that writer-director-actor Ross Partridge creates, if only in segments.
Performance driven: The two leads are essentially forced to carry all of the emotional weight and significance of the film on their back. Partridge skirts the line between creepy and caring; occasionally he feels like that fatherly figure that Tommie just so requires, while at other times, he feels brooding- creepy, manipulative, and ominous. Oona Laurence surprises yet again as Tommie, painting a perfect persona of emotional fragility and that crippling sense of feeling invisible to those all around. She is innocent, yet, something about her suggests maturity.
Overview: Lamb, with its two unlikely friends doomed to lives apart, illustrates a desperate and tragic situation, even if it is a bit inconclusive and uncertain at the end.
Featured Image: The Orchard