Film: Rams

"We're going to have to slaughter every sheep in the valley."

The story of two brothers, sheep farmers, living in Iceland. They are neighbours but have not spoken in 40 years. They are forced to interact with each other when their herd contracts Scrapie, a fatal disease for sheep.

This is a bloody hard sell no matter how you frame it, yet Rams is a film that might resonate with a lot of people. As the two brothers struggle to repair an age-old feud, the bleak setting and strange language melt away to reveal a touching and perhaps familiar tale.

The Icelandic landscape dwarfs everything and helps give a sense of isolation to the whole film. It takes two stubborn people two live in a place like this without talking to each other for 40 years.

Rams is laced with a dark sense of humour. There are visual gags spliced into even the darkest of moments. Sometimes it goes too far and kills what would otherwise be a strong scene, but for the most part it adds some much needed levity.

You already know if you are in the market for an Icelandic black comedy about sheep farmers. That said, I didn’t think I was until I saw this and Rams proved to be a pleasant surprise. It’s a little slow going but the unpretentious tone and simple story won me over.

Grímur Hákonarson | 2015 | IMDB | Wikipedia