Directed by: Kyle Kleege
Written by: #KyleKleege
A contemplation on love, sex, desire and faith, filmmaker Kyle Kleege's short #LGBT film The Lamb is a tense and evocative piece that captures the inner turmoil of sexuality with cinematic high notes.
Richard Lounello plays a priest desperate to find the strength to resist his most shameful temptation. Finding himself in a darkened strip club and saving a worker called Dante (Ben Amendolara) from the cruelty of his pimp (Dennis Skiba), the priest and Dante escape into the night. However, the night is just beginning for the priest who is about to come face to face with his difficult urges.
Seductive and provocative, the atmosphere of The Lamb is cranked to ensure the audience feels at least a little bit uncomfortable.
From the pounding music in the club (rendering the need for subtitles for the characters’ dialogue) to the intimate framing of Dante and the Priest when they are in the motel, viewers are embracing the introspective nature of the plot and the central character's dilemma.
The sequences in the club were riveting, a sense of peril permeating the screen and the priest's uncertainty was engaging. During the latter half of the movie, the tone shifts to something equally as perilous but more sexual than threatening. It was a shame that the audio was a little crackly and let down the overall experience.
Lounello is a great lead, delivering a turn which was outwardly visible in terms of the character's moral predicament. His religion seems at odds with his natural urges and this made the priest appear almost frozen with fear. There are moments where we see the emotion spill out, such as at a bathroom sink or the engrossing final sequences (which I won't spoil). Amendolara was good if a little tripped up by his character's motivation; on the one hand an abused sex worker and on the other a flirty liberator of the sexually repressed. He does well with the material though and has a great chemistry with Lounello.
Other shorts with similar themes of sexual identity and despair (such as Gage Oxley's short film This World We Live In or Louise Marie's Pillow Talk) were able to be a bit more subtle. The Lamb relies quite heavily on the confessional exposition by the priest which aside from an intriguing notion about the irony of having faith and engaging in “sodomy” was fairly unnecessary and clunky.
Bold storytelling and a few impressive cinematic moments make The Lamb a worthy short. However, the generic production value and stilted dialogue may see it lost amongst the flock.