Rams

****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Rams (Hrútar), directed by Grímur Hákonarson, won the Prize of Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2015
"Hákonarson proves himself a master of his material - a sort of rural Ken Loach - shooting sparingly yet dramatically against extreme weather conditions."

It sounds the least likely contender for an engrossing and at times hilarious tragicomedy. Rams deals with two wildly different brothers living in close proximity in the wilds of Iceland with a lot of sheep - and complete lack of communication between them.

In the hands of director Grímur Hákonarson it becomes an incredible journey as the siblings have to rethink their relationship with each other against a background of a hostile landscape and everything the elements can throw at them.

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The brothers - Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) is the one who drinks and loves shooting and Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) the one who doesn’t - inhabit houses in the valley that are literally only a stone’s throw apart. They have not spoken to each other for years. When Kiddi wins a contest for the best ram Gummi decides that the animal may be infected with a dangerous disease - and could have to be destroyed along with the other flocks in the area.

The local veterinary inspectors become involved while the brothers finally find they have to confront the issues that have driven them apart.

Hákonarson proves himself a master of his material - a sort of rural Ken Loach - shooting sparingly yet dramatically against extreme weather conditions with repressed emotions in free fall. The wild and bearded bothers are played impeccably and movingly by Sigurjónsson and Júlíusson, who come from a theatre background.

The film may be rooted in the rigours of its distinctive environment but it is a story that has a much wider appeal and influence.

Reviewed on: 10 Jul 2015
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In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven't spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what's dearest to them - their sheep.
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Director: Grímur Hákonarson

Writer: Grímur Hákonarson

Starring: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving, Jon Benonysson, Gunnar Jónsson, Þorleifur Einarsson

Year: 2015

Runtime: 93 minutes

Country: Iceland


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