Directed by Grimur Hakonarson. Starring Siguour Sigurjonsson, Theodor Juliusson, Charlotte Boving, Jon Benonysson, Gunnar Jonsson, Sveinn Olarfu Gunnarsson.
THE PLOT: The long-running rivalry between brothers Gummi (Sigurjonsson) and Kiddi (Juliusson) is ramped up just a little more when the former’s ram wins silver at the local farming association’s annual awards in their small Icelandic village and the latter wins gold. The two haven’t spoken for 40 years, and when Gummi discovers signs of the contagious disease scrapie in Kiddi’s prize-winning ram, it isn’t long before the agricultural ministry has descended, demanding that all sheep in the area be slaughtered. Kiddi is keen to take out his frustration on his brother, but then he discovers that Gummi has secretly kept a small flock…
THE VERDICT: A deceptively beautiful and sprightly little black comedy, Grimur Hakonarson’s Un Certain Regard winner tackles some harsh realities for certain remote parts of Iceland whilst also retaining a wry, crisp and mildly screwball rival comedy sensibility. The setting is stunning, ‘Rams’ utilises the beautiful, blinding snow as a blank canvas upon which to paint this fiesty fable. The universiality of this seemingly straight story runs deep, whilst Hakonarson uses just the right amount of sugar to make this medicine go down smoothly.
Review by Paul Byrne