When Lambs Become Lions

2019

When Lambs Become Lions

Critics Consensus

When Lambs Become Lions uses one family's difficult choices to untangle a complicated -- and enraging -- struggle over animal rights in Africa.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 32

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9

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Movie Info

In the Kenyan bush, a small-time ivory dealer fights to stay on top while forces mobilize to destroy his trade. When he turns to his younger cousin, a conflicted wildlife ranger who hasn't been paid in months, they both see a possible lifeline. The plummeting elephant population in Africa has captured the attention of the world, and as the government cracks down, both poachers and rangers face their own existential crises--what is the value of elephant life relative to human life? And can we understand these hunters who will risk death, arrest, and the moral outrage of the world to provide for their families? Director Jon Kasbe followed the subjects of WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS over a three-year period, gaining an extraordinary level of access and trust on both sides of the ideological and ethical spectrum as he became part of their everyday lives. The result is a rare and visually arresting look through the perspectives and motives of the people at the epicenter of the conservation divide.

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Critic Reviews for When Lambs Become Lions

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (2)

  • The material, however, has been artfully arranged into an epic personality clash between a swaggering poacher, simply known as X, and his nemesis, a sympathetic wildlife ranger called Asan.

    March 3, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Fewer fags and more facts would have made When Lambs Become Lions perfect. Still, its non-preachy stance is a revelation.

    February 24, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This is certainly a taut and well-filmed atmospheric piece.

    February 12, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Jon Kasbe spent four dangerous years making 'When Lambs Become Lions' and he's been rewarded with some thrilling moments.

    February 7, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Greer McNally

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • [I]n the hands of documentarian Jon Kasbe, making his striking feature debut after a handful of short films, the movie is something far less binary, and far more intriguing.

    December 9, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Kasbe spent years among these people, and his movie is an intense 74-minute distillation of his dedication.

    December 5, 2019 | Full Review…

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