Rams (15)

Directed by Grimur Hakonarson
Picturehouse, Liverpool
5th - 11th February 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Set in the snowy mountains of Iceland this is not a feelgood film about sheep farming, far from it!

Two brothers, Gummi (Sigoraur Sigurjonsson)) and Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson), who have not spoken to each other for forty years - no indication is put forward as to why this is the case - even though they occupy farmhouses a short distance from each other, are both obsessed to an extraordinary degree with rearing sheep.

Their only form of communication between themselves is via handwritten messages delivered in its mouth by a border collie called Somi (named Panda by its real life owners), in scenes - I know I am biased, owning two collies myself - which are utterly charming.

Despite the animosity between them they both appear to love Somi, providing the only tangible link between them.

They are lonely souls and seem to had have very few liaisons of any form with women. Gummi dryly remarked "There are not many around here."

Their division grows even wider when Gummi discovers that his brother's flock is infected with scrapie, the ovine equivalent of mad cow disease. This leads to all of the sheep based in the farms in the valley, or so it seems, being slain.

This results in Kiddi, a heavy drinker, taking to the bottle even more so, and in one amusing scene he collapses outside Gummi's house in the snow after going on another bender, with him depositing him at the entrance to the local hospital after transporting his brother in a forklift truck!

The full impact of cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grovlen comes into full force, almost literally, in the closing minutes of the film when a ferocious snowstorm occurs high in the mountains, leading to an ending you do not expect at all.

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