Director: Grimur Hakonarson
Stars: Sigurour Sigurjonsson, Theodor Juliusson
3 (out of 5) Globes
As promised, “Rams” has rams, and sheep, and perhaps best of all two ornery old-timers duking it out over some unspecified, long-gestating beef. Residing in Big Sky Country — in this case, remotest Iceland — Gummi (Sigurour Sigurjonsson) and Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson) haven’t spoken in 40 years. That’s a bit strange, as they’re next-door neighbors. When they communicate at all it’s through a sheepdog delivering pissy letters. They even boast the same occupation: breeding sheep, whose best specimens participate in an annual local competition. Kiddi wins this year’s round, but it’s then discovered his herd has come down with the disease scrapie, necessitating the destruction of all the valley’s sheep, which won’t be replenished for two whole years.
The estranged siblings soon find a reason to reconnect face-to-face. Gummi, more chill, isn’t too happy to have to deal with Kiddi, a haywire ball of anger who breaks the silence by shooting out his bro’s window. Such deadpan rancor is par for course in “Rams,” which also delights in shots of naked old men clipping their toes with dull scissors or shuffling about with microscopic penises. Director Grimur Hakonarson comes from documentary, but he’s good with gags that spring organically from this rural corner of the earth, whose ornery inhabitants have whittled their lives down to food, farming and fury. Slowly, inevitably, things turn tender, but the slide comes naturally, too, and things end on a note of unexpected seriousness that feels earned, even though next to nothing has been said.
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