Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Now on Netflix: Rams (2016)

Rams movie poster
Rams (2016) - Written and Directed by Grimur Hakonarson; Starring Sigurour Sigurjonsson, Theodor Juliusson, Charlotte Boving.

By Kenny Howell

Two estranged brothers are brought back together when a disease effects the sheep of their community in this small Icelandic drama.

Gummi becomes intrigued when his prize ram loses in a competition to one owned by his brother Kiddi in their tiny Icelandic village. The two haven't spoken for years for reasons the film doesn't make entirely clear, though we get a sense. He breaks into his brother's barn to check the ram, and discovers it might have scrapie, a fatal degenerative disease that is easily transmitted to other sheep.

It seems at first that Gummi may just be jealous of his brother's win, and this is his way to sabotage it, but the consequences are that all the sheep in the village would have to be slaughtered, which is a terrible economic blow to the village that relies on the animals. Turns out the ram does have scrapie, and the diagnosis drastically effects not only the community, but the relationship between Gummi and Kiddi.

Rams, which obviously is an unique tale, works on many levels. It is an examination of brotherhood, the transition from the past to the modern world and pride. It's as compact as the remote Icelandic village where the story is told, which I think may keep it from achieving greatness. But still, Writer-Director Grimur Hakonarson gets a lot from its compact story, and really delves deeply into a story that on the surface wouldn't appear to have that depth.

Rating: ***1/2

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