The Other Lamb
Małgorzata Szumowska’s (Berlin Jury Prize-winner Mug and LFF 2015’s Body) English-language debut is a beguiling genre-tinged examination of life in an otherworldly cult.
Dir Małgorzata Szumowska
Prod Stephanie Wilcox, David Lancaster, Aoife O’Sullivan, Tristan Orpen Lynch, Marie Gade Denessen
Scr Catherine S McMullen
With Raffey Cassidy, Michiel Huisman, Denise Gough
Selah was born into The Flock, a community of women and girls ruled over by Shepherd, the only male, and a seemingly benevolent but undisputed leader of the strictly regimented and isolated woodland settlement. Selah appears the most perfect of the faithful flock, until unsettling revelations see her devotion shaken. Already so impressive in The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Vox Lux, Raffey Cassidy is spectacular as Saleh, conveying bewilderment and terror, but also fierce defiance. Alongside her, Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) makes a messianic, unnerving Shepherd, while Denise Gough represents the danger of a woman with worldly wisdom. With The Other Lamb, the gifted Szumowska offers an eerie ethereal vision that compellingly recalls a range of references, from David Koresh’s Waco, Texas cult to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian science fiction. Working here from Catherine S McMullen’s excellent script, Szumowska returns to some themes present in previous work, with its disquieting examination of faith, compliance and the roles that gender and community play in enforcing cultural norms. As the film shows, a lack of devotion and conformity really can be a hazard to one’s health.