Wow. Attraction to robots, attraction to family members, and now attraction to children; I am running the gamut of perversity at this festival. So yeah, Lamb is about pedophilia. The plot is essentially this: a man in his forties, Gary meets an eleven year old girl, Tommy, and takes her on a trip (read: abducts her) to a cabin in the middle of nowhere; the whole time manipulating her mentally, emotionally, and physically. Now, does that premise immediately make the film bad? Absolutely not. There is no unsavory subject a filmmaker shouldn’t feel free to approach; it all depends on how they handle it. And personally, I didn’t like Lamb’s approach.
That’s not to say the movie is out-and-out bad; it’s not. It’s well shot, well directed, well acted. In fact, I was extremely impressed with Oona Laurence’s work. It can be a role of the dice when it comes to young actors and actresses, but I saw no flaws in her performance.
The problem is Gary. No, not the performance – director and star, Ross Partridge played the part well – the writing. I did not find him charming or endearing in the least. Not that a pedophile has to be likable, but we had to spend so much time with him – a good ninety percent of the film consists of scenes just between Gary and Tommy. There are a few brief times where the film hints that maybe Gary isn’t really interested in Tommy sexually; that he’s just a lonely damaged man who wants some semblance of a family. But, when those moments come up there’s so much evidence to suggest otherwise, they just feel hollow. It’s a shame because that might have made for a more intriguing story; spending time with Gary could have felt more rewarding if I was trying (and wanting) to understand his intentions.
Again, this movie isn’t outright bad, but for me it was unpleasant to sit through. If you find something I’m not seeing in it, I certainly can’t fault you.