RAMS

— by Jeff Schultz
The title refers not only to the male sheep in herds tended on adjoining ranches by two brothers who haven’t spoken to each other in 40 years, but also to the brothers themselves and the stubbornness that keeps them apart. This widescreen tragicomedy features sweeping panoramas of rural Iceland — a cold, vast land that seems as far from Reykjavik as the country itself is from the rest of the world… and the brothers from each other. The discovery of the incurable disease scrapie in one of the animals triggers a series of events that leads to an angry eruption and then a reunion and then a battle for survival that ends with a bang and a whimper in a howling storm. The story is told with minimal dialogue and quiet humor, with a few big laughs, the biggest of which involves the transport of an unconscious man to the emergency room in a bulldozer. The aging, crevassed, Biblical face of Sigurður Sigurjónsson (who has the bigger role) goes past expressive into something rather eternal; it would be amazing to see him play King Lear. Kudos to the sheep as well — and to a clever border collie who functions as a four-legged messenger. 

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