Aging Icelandic brothers Gummi (Sigurour Sigurjonsson) and Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson) have lived next to each other, with neither speaking to the other, for 40 years. But, they have to put their differences behind them when the one thing they have in common are put in danger – their sheep – in “Rams.”
Laura's Review: A-
In a rural Icelandic valley, the area veterinarian Katrin (Charlotte Bøving, "Everest") judges local farmers' prize sheep. When Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson, "Jar City") is announced the winner by a mere 1/2 a point, runner up Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) is shocked. Gummi is Kiddi's neighbor AND brother and the two haven't spoken in forty years. Gummi's jealousy will have profound reverberations in "Rams." Writer/director Grímur Hákonarson black comi-tragedy was both the Cannes 2015 Un Certain Regard Winner and Iceland's submission for the Foreign Language Oscar and it's a winner. Steeped in a specific regional culture, you never know quite where "Rams" is headed. After learning that Kiddi's ram won because of a stronger back muscle, Gummi examines the animal and comes to a disturbing conclusion. He believes it has contracted scrapie, a contagious, incurable virus whose presence will condemn an entire flock to slaughter. When he shares this information with a friend whose farm is seemingly out of harm, he learns the man used Kiddi's ram for stud. When the news reaches Katrin, official action is taken and the two brothers react very differently. Kiddi drunkenly arrives to shoot through Gummi's windows and refuses to cooperate with officials. Katrin is stunned to find that Gummi has taken matters into his own hands, illegally, and slaughtered all of his own sheep, the last of a famous ancestral sheep-stock. But things are not as they seem and things escalate when the brothers are advised they will also have to thoroughly cleanse their barns, breaking down and removing pens. An official asks for Gummi's help in getting Kiddi's cooperation and we learn more about their past. Hákonarson's comedy is very black as he contrasts Kiddi's reckless, destructive behavior with Gummi's secretive celebrations. But he leaves us on a haunting note, the brothers finally coming together for a fateful last stand. Grade:
Robin's Review: B
Woody Harrelson hits one out of the park with his tour de force performance as a corrupt and cynical cop who also happens to be a family man with two ex-wives, sisters Barbara (Cynthia Nixon) and Catherine (Anne Heche), and a daughter by each, Helen (Brie Larson) and Margaret (Sammy Boyarsky). Dave is also a sex addict who does not eat food, a racist, a bigot and a powder keg that could explode any minute. With the exception of the Independent Spirit Awards and the Satellite Awards, Harrelson has been overlooked by all other awards organizations, including the Academy and this is a shame. Harrelson dominates the film but his supporting cast does a good job in fleshing out their small roles. Name actors and unknowns populate the story with the likes of Robin Wright, Ned Beatty (is he Dave’s mentor, ghost or hallucination?), Sigourney Weaver, Ben Foster and Ice Cube showing up in small roles that help move the story forward smoothly. “Rampart” reteams Harrelson with his director from “The Messenger,” Oren Moverman, and others from that film, including cinematographer Bobby Bukowski. The look of the film, using saturation to wash out colors, is retro 1990’s, which suits a film set in the era of Rodney King.