Originally produced in 1985 and briefly released in the US ten years later to capitalize on Liam Neeson's stardom, this sensitive and disturbing film proved worth the wait. The screenplay, adapted by Bernard MacLaverty from his novel, concerns a young clergyman who flees his teaching post
at a remote Catholic boarding school, taking with him an epileptic boy.
Ten-year-old Owen Kane (Hugh O'Conor) is brought to St. Kiaran's school on the coast of Ireland by his mother (Frances Tomelty), who appears to care little for her son and has physically abused him. Michael Lamb (Liam Neeson), himself troubled by questions of faith, takes Owen under his wing. Lamb
protects Owen from injury during an epileptic fit, meets with him to find out how he is adjusting, and impresses him by returning a pack of confiscated cigarettes. He also defends Owen against Brother Benedict (Ian Bannen), the school's superior, when Owen is accused of, and punished for, for an
act of graffiti he firmly denies having committed. When Lamb's sick father dies and leaves him a small inheritance, he runs away from the school, taking Owen with him.
They travel to London, stay in a succession of rented rooms, each worse than the last, and eventually become squatters in a flat offered by a lecherous and alcoholic fellow emigrant. In Ireland, Lamb is accused of kidnapping Owen and stealing school funds. When the money runs low, the authorities
seem to be closing in, and Lamb cannot refill Owen's prescription for medication against his epileptic attacks, they return to Ireland. There, on an isolated beach, Lamb drowns Owen while he is having an epileptic fit. He then attempts to drown himself but fails. The film concludes with Lamb
sitting alone beside Owen's body.
LAMB is a fine but depressing film in which director Colin Gregg investigates the strange relationship between the naive, introspective, and well-intentioned man and the mischievous, maladjusted, lonely boy. Neither seems aware of the depth and complexity of the attachment; yet, each reaches out
for emotional support from the other. Filmed in confined interiors, or in haunting isolation against bleak and empty landscapes, the film successfully projects Lamb's timidity and fear and Owen's alienation. (Adult situations.)
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- Released: 1985
- Rating: NR
- Review: Originally produced in 1985 and briefly released in the US ten years later to capitalize on Liam Neeson's stardom, this sensitive and disturbing film proved worth the wait. The screenplay, adapted by Bernard MacLaverty from his novel, concerns a young cler… (more)