Powered by Blogger.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Review: The Other Lamb

Director: Malgorzata Szumowska
Guion: C. S. McMullen
Año: 2020

Atmospheric and symbolism heavy movies constantly make an appearance in horror cinema, something that has become more popular after the success of Roger Eberts with “The WItch” and Ari Aster with “Midsommar”. The production companies A24 and IFC Midnight (IFC Films) spearhead this movement and style of horror movies with IFC Midnight being the distributor of “The Other Lamb”. However, for every excellent piece produced like “The Wind” or any of the aforementioned ones, there is a movie like “Gwen” which is hard to even consider inside the horror genre.

The story of “The Other Lamb” follows Selah, a young girl born in a cult of women who blindly follow a man without ever doubting his teaching and methods. Shepherd is the leader of this group of women in a self-sufficient community where every woman is his wife or daughter. The devotion that Selah feels for Shepherd slowly starts to weaken as a series of events starts to reveal his true nature. 

As in some of the movies mentioned, “The Other Lamb” uses elements of folk horror in this cult that lives away from modern life. The natural scenery in which everything takes place gives way to beautiful cinematography, that at the same time emphasizes the distancing this group of people has from the common world, which makes it more credible that these women would blindly follow a man. It is through the cinematography that this movie gets to achieve the tense and oppressive ambient that permeates through its full duration and that could be symbolic of the oppression that women are often a victim of. 

“The Other Lamb” is the sort of movie that is full of symbolism from beginning to end. Starting from the resemblance of Shepherd to Jesus to emphasize the clear symbolism of his status as a messiah, as with the use of menstruation as a symbol of a change towards adulthood and individual awakening and the use of sheep and a ram to reflect what is going on inside the cult and as a symbol of the patriarchy, which is the main topic it works on. Similarly, many other symbols can be identified, so much so that it can be overwhelming and in some parts confusing.

Establishing the argument that the direction and the script complement each other well usually is a compliment for a movie but in this case, it is the contrary. The direction of Malgorzata Szumowska (“In The Name Of”), without being bad, stresses the problems of the script of C. S. McMullen, as the excessive use of symbolism and trying to be so artistic that end up making the movie confusing and boring because of the time it takes for even the simplest things to unfold. What saves the movie from being duller is the impressive acting of Raffey Cassidy (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) that with scarce lines of dialogue can express that awakening into womanhood and how her feelings for Shepherd slowly change. 

In essence, the plot of “The Other Lamb” is a women empowerment story where a young girl breaks with the oppressive dogma that was instilled into her and she takes action to change her situation, something similar as what happens in “The Witch” (replacing goats with sheep), but its artistic elements, instead of enhancing, take away from it and are detrimental for its potential. The beautiful cinematography and great acting are not enough to save it from the slow and boring script that puts more attention on its artistic side than in telling a captivating and coherent story about women’s empowerment and coming of age.

No comments:

Post a Comment