The Last Farm

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Last Farm
"Sigurbjörnsson does excellent work in between the lines of the script and Rúnarsson gives him plenty of space, so that not a single moment of the 17 here feels hurried."

A quick glance at the shortlist for the 2006 Oscars is a reminder that many accomplished directors start in the smaller format, with the contenders including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri helmer Martin McDonagh, whose Six Shooter would go on to win, British director Sean Ellis (whose first feature, Cashback, would be based on this short) and this affecting drama from Icelander Rúnar Rúnarsson.

Rúnarsson has since proved himself something of a master of telling poignant stories with economy, using no fewer than 56 vignettes in his most recent feature Echo. This low-key affair has engaging visual storytelling from the start as we watch the elderly Hrafn (Jón Sigurbjörnsson) go about his work on the farm, although what the job in hand is will only be revealed further through the runtime.

Returning to his remote farmhouse we see him talking to his daughter as G. Magni Ágústsson's camera watches him through a window, creeping closer all the while. We soon see the bigger picture, something his daughter Lilja can't from the other end of the phone line cannot, and Rúnarsson let's the full weight of what is going on gently settle on us at the same time as revealing the mystery behind Hrafn's earlier hard work.

Sigurbjörnsson does excellent work in between the lines of the script and Rúnarsson gives him plenty of space, so that not a single moment of the 17 here feels hurried. There's an elegance to the economical storytelling coupled with some immaculate timing so that everything falls into place at just the right moment, as our thoughts and the camera turn to the heavens.

Reviewed on: 19 Nov 2020
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The Last Farm packshot
An ageing farmer is determined to do things his own way.
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Festivals:

Glasgow 2012

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If you like this, try:

Echo