We have all probably struck up some questionable friendships in the unlikeliest of situations. In "Lamb", it just so happens that our two protagonists find their spark through a cigarette. Set within a world that feels like a latter day Lolita, this unsettling film follows the indefinable relationship between two struggling individuals that happen to sit on very different ends of the age spectrum. Unhappiness and spontaneity, amongst other things, are the catalysts that drive a 40-something year old man to deem a friendship with an 11 year old girl as acceptable after she innocently asks him for a cigarette in a dare gone awry. Ross Partridge takes the reins as not only director but actor and adapter of this story based on the novel by Bonnie Nadzam. Is this film a simple matter of identifying what could be a wolf in sheep's clothing or is it a much deeper and innocent portrait showcasing the role of destiny in our struggle to find comfort and acceptance in this world?
The premise of "Lamb" is simple on the surface but dark and deeply complicated below the obvious. Having just lost his father and starting to witness the unraveling of his marriage and affair, David Lamb (Partridge) finds himself face to face with a [keyword: very] young girl (Oona Laurance). Her high heels and cool demeanor suggest she is aged beyond her 11 years. From here we witness these two lost souls finding each other in the corner of a desolate parking lot .. and well, you can almost see where this is going tone-wise. A kidnapping joke, or more like role play, will cement the fate of the two and set the wheels of the narrative in motion towards a very unsettling yet necessary and exposed ending. Setting out West to escape the monotony of life, seeking to find something more, some beauty in the world, the two set out for their paradise and a slew of roadblocks to their destiny.
A film that is soaking in symbolism, morals, and immoral scenarios, "Lamb" proves that, though you can try to run away from life, bothersome realities will eventually find you again. It makes us ponder - who or what is the real innocent here - who is the real lamb of the story? For whatever sense of relief or anxiety the film’s ending may give you, what the film sets up is a scenario that makes us question relationships and the role that society has over defining them. Whether an inappropriate but harmless connection, something down right predatory or simply human desperation for comfort, the open road takes these two on a trip that will affect the rest of their lives. "Lamb", though sometimes lost in the dark confusion of its own plot, is a film well worth watching if only to help us in understanding something necessary about human connections and ourselves.