SXSW FILM 2015
By Don Simpson | March 21, 2015
Director: Ross Partridge
Writers: Ross Partridge (screenplay), Bonnie Nadzam (novel)
Starring: Ross Partridge, Oona Laurence, Jess Weixler, Ron Burkhardt, Tom Bower, Lindsay Pulsipher, Scoot McNairy, Joel Murray, Jennifer Lafleur
From the first moment that David Lamb (Ross Partridge) meets Tommie (Oona Laurence), Ross Partridge’s Lamb delves deep into discomforting terrain. The 11-year-old girl approaches the 45-year-old on a dare from her friends. Dressed like a prepubescent prostitute, Tommie attempts to bum a cigarette from David. Not necessarily in sound mind following the death of his father (Ron Burkhardt) and contending with a divorce, David decides to teach Tommie and her friends a lesson by pretending to kidnap her, while in reality he delivers Tommie home to her oblivious parents (Lindsay Pulsipher and Scoot McNairy).
The situation grows increasingly menacing as David and Tommie develop a strange friendship. While Tommie is in desperate need of love and attention, David’s motivations are creepily blurred. David legitimizes his friendship with Tommie with a strange desire to provide her with what he deems to be necessary life experiences; specifically, David wants to take Tommie halfway across the country to his family’s cabin so that she can see be fully immersed in the natural peace and tranquility of rural America.
There are few cinematic devices as disturbing as pedophilia; with Lamb, Partridge uses the perpetual threat of pedophilia to create an even more unsettling viewing experience. Fueled by the astounding lead performances of Oona Laurence and Ross Partridge, Lamb is by no means an enjoyable film to watch. Partridge succeeds in providing the necessary character development to justify Tommie and David’s actions, but it is still nearly impossible to resist yelling at the screen, pleading for Tommie to get away from David — either that, or you will find yourself averting your eyes and just hoping for the best.