IFFK 2015 — Movie Review- Rams/Hrúta
by Grimur Hakonarson
A story line built upon loneliness, end of hope, relationships, determination etc as the characteristics, overlying the cynical expressions of Iceland — Rams is still an engrossing movie while most of the events which unfold are predictable. And hence may be you can skip last 5 minutes in the movie as no surprises await even if you were to watch fully! It definitely is a good film, and as some jury rightly pointed it out, is of Un Certain genre
Rams, as the meaning goes, is about the people who rely on Sheep Farms in Iceland and whose cash cow being Rams, the uncastrated male sheep. Gummi & Kiddy are 2 brothers who live in a valley in Iceland, engaged in sheep farming for their living. They live close by, all by themselves — but has not spoken to each other for 40 years. Movie starts with Kiddy the younger among them becoming the owner of year’s prestigious Rams in the valley — obviously inching out Gummi’s one. Events turnout dramatic as Gummi discovers the recurrence of Scrapie outbreak, a degenerative disease among sheep, and that too suspected one to have is prize winning Kiddy’s Rams! Not much options left to the entire valley and farmers than to eradicate all the sheep in one go and then wait for a period to start afresh again to do the same business — obviously the story has a baggage of previous such episodes in the valley.
What follows is a valiant attempt by Gummi to preserve a bunch of Rams and sheep, “secretly” so as to mix them up when business falls as usual. He does so by keeping a few in the basement of his farm house. No surprises is the theme, so it gets into the notice of authorities and remaining story has no further twist as well.
A remarkable deadpan Gummi, tells us so many things without too much of dialogue rendering! If you are a fan of such untold stuff, you are in for a treat. With just the above story sequence, one can draw enumerous interpretations — how a non emotional bond exists between “brothers” amidst own priorities, differences and preferences — how an epidemic like Scrapie affects a valley as a whole (you will get to see lots of subtle chi-t-chats in this line) — how does it take for people to be lonely and having no hopes towards anything, but need to survive — how self-interest dominates the common one even in a calamity — how communities carved out religious beliefs react in situations such “no hope even for a hope” — how regulators react to calamities — and many more could be there! Not sure how many of my interpretations were originally planned by the writer/director, or if at all any, but to me what a movie as visual entertainment medium needs to do, Rams does!
Well directed with fitting cast, developed on a different story, with acceptable screenplay, apt editing and commendable cinematography (I don’t want to give all the credit of those excellent visuals to mother nature -:)). However one surprise came up to me, though outside the story, which was the last 5 minutes of dramatic sequence, which could have been avoided.