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Rams 

Wednesday, Feb 10 2016
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You're a grizzled old man whose life is herding sheep. Your livelihood is threatened when it becomes necessary to destroy those sheep. What do you do? That's the outward conflict in Grímur Hákonarson's alternately witty and moody Rams, which may make you glad that you're not a shepherd in Iceland. Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) are brothers whose sheep farms are next to each other in an Icelandic valley, but who haven't talked to each other in four decades. When Kiddi's sheep are diagnosed with scrapie, a very serious disease with a very silly name — and one which is spoken so often in the film as to beg for a supercut — the brothers react to the pressure to slaughter their stock in very different ways, but are forced to bury the hatchet and band together. Rams is mannered and deliberately paced in a way that belies the fact that it's a comedy at heart, albeit one about serious issues; it's surely no accident that one of the main promotional images is of a line of men with sheep pointing at their crotches. But Rams also gets dark as shit gets real. Gummi and Kiddi face off against the march of time and inevitability, if not exactly progress, and their ram-like obstinacy may not prevail.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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