Michael Lamb is a Father questioning his calling, in a Reform School in Ireland. When young epileptic runaway Eoin is sent to the school...
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I must profess the only reason I taped this film when it was shownrecentlyon Australian ABC TV was because I saw that Liam Neeson and Ian Bannenwerein it.I therefore began watching it knowing absolutely nothing about it. Icameaway feeling slightly disappointed, but overall I found itenjoyable.The story concerns a priest, played with suitable piousy by Neeson, amanwhos faith is slowly ebbing away in the face of hardship.His eye falls to a newcomer to the school at which he works, a youngboycalled Owen who seems to have quite a chip on his shoulder, and doesnotlike authority of any kind.The two develop a friendship, and, at a crucial moment, the priestdecidesto kidnap the boy and travel to London and better climes. He tellsOwenthat he has talked to his mother and gained permission to have him forawhile.They spend a while in London (living off an advance of his inheritancefromhis recently departed father), and get quite close.But Owen suffers from epilepsy, a condition which requiresconstantmedication. And when the money and drugs start runningout...Lamb is quite a routine picture for much of its length, lacking anyrealemotional depth until the last 20 minutes. Its length is perhaps abitlong, with its paper thin plot stretched out to accommodatethis.Apart from the last 20-30 minutes where the desperation starts to set inandthey run out of money, resorting to more seedier accommodation, itreallylacks the hook to keep a viewer interested.4 out of 10.
This features Liam Neeson in one of his earliest roles as an Irish priest, Michael Lamb, who befriends a boy at a remand school and takes him away with him, when he suffers a crisis of faith. What makes the film compelling and unusual is in the shifting tone. The initial school scenes play like Dickens, and after Lamb and the boy run away to London, Neeson plays straight man to Hugh O'Conor's Owen, who gives surprisingly funny line readings. The first time we hear him speak is a riot when he tells Lamb "I don't give a f**k". Then as Lamb begins to realise his limited options when he is being hunted for kidnapping, he makes a shocking decision as to how to resolve his predicament. Owen is an epileptic, and I like how director Gregg shows that what makes him have a seizure is a moment of joy. The first one is preceded by a big close-up of his innocent face. I also like the way Gregg shows Lamb's reaction to a death from outside a window, and his use of U2's In the Name of Love when Lamb and Owen have their faces printed onto each other's t-shirts. Neeson is touching as Lamb, particularly in the way he yearns for the boy to return his tenderness, and also his height makes him look great in priest getup. The conclusion of this film is unforgettable, though the Van Morrison music of dread gives us clear warning. We actually open with a frame from the end, but by the time we realise it, it's too late to be prepared.