Rams

Rams

(Hrútar)
(2015)

Icelandic drama about two sheep-herding brothers, living side by side in their secluded valley, who haven't spoken to each other for four decades. Un Certain Regard winner at Cannes 2015.... More

With a disease outbreak threatening both their income and their long-standing lifestyle, Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) each try to repel the external threat in their own way. They may not like it, but the brothers will have to accept the need to come together once more if they're to save their unique generation-spanning breed.Hide

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Flicks Review

Less really is more in this Icelandic tale of two elderly farmers and their flocks. The bushy-bearded brothers live in a remote village, just a short distance apart, yet, due to stubbornness, simmering hatred, and sibling prize-ram rivalry, haven’t spoken in four decades. Yup, they’re as hard-headed as their rams, but that doesn’t stop them communicating occasionally, via a note-carrying sheepdog.... More

Set in a bleak, but beautiful, wintery landscape, snow hasn’t looking this stunning since the Coens’ Fargo. The eccentric brothers here face everyday hardships, but when their world is threatened by a dire disease capable of wiping out their flocks and livelihood, Rams takes a turn from the oddly comic, to the darkly tragic. Yet warmth and hope survive as the threat to their flocks brings the battling brothers together to save their way of life.

Naturalistic acting lends this drama a documentary edge, slowly sucking you in to a world both brutally real and bizarrely surreal, whilst mesmerising camerawork, pacing and scoring keep you there. Simply told, with flashes of wry humour, writer/director Grímur Hákonarson conveys the tough life of farmers in a country of 200,000 people, outnumbered by 800,000 sheep. I came away knowing far more than I ever wanted to about traditional Icelandic farming practices, the delights of subtly skewered Scandinavian humour and, um, sheep.

Rams may be a small story, but it’s got a great big heart and bags of appeal for movie-lovers who like their films served up chock-full of meaning and metaphor galore, with a hefty side-order of delightfully off-kilter quirk.Hide


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The Press Reviews

95% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • There’s no doubting the film’s empathy for its protagonists. Shame, then, that the final-reel shift into tragedy feels misplaced. Full Review

  • The film's touching final scene is imbued with the raw truth of a prairie fable told among shepherds over the centuries. Full Review

  • A small story about two old estranged brothers and their animals gently morphs from gentle near-absurdist comedy to something close to tragedy. Full Review

  • A touching humanist drama set in a remote farming valley where two estranged brothers must come together to save what's dearest to them: their sheep. Full Review

  • Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson are utterly convincing as the battling brothers whose alienation is expressed more through morosely bearded gesture than drunken buckshot dialogue. Full Review

  • A masterclass in combining character and landscape that is played with deceptive poignancy by the excellent leads. Full Review

  • "Rams" is so much its own film that figuring out where its unusual, unpredictable plot will end up is difficult if not impossible. Full Review

  • This powerful volcanic landscape needs a complimentary style and Hakonarson brings one: long takes with little camera movement, almost a series of tableaux. It's similar to documentary but with a more poetic touch. Full Review

  • Despite its affection for the quirks of its characters and their milieu, the film is most memorable for its gravity, for the almost tragic nobility it finds in sad and silly circumstances. Full Review

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