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56. Rams; movie review

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Title : 56. Rams; movie review
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Cert 12
119 mins
BBFC advice: Contains moderate bad language, threat, upsetting scenes

A remake of a movie which is peculiarly Icelandic couldn't possibly work, could it?
Especially when it is set on the near-polar opposite side of the world?
Well, yes and no. This version of Rams doesn't have the quirkiness of the original but it has been neatly adapted to an Australian setting.
And while the basic threads are the same, there are enough points of difference to keep the audience entertained.
Jeremy Sim's film stars Sam Neill as Colin and Michael Caton as Les, two sheep-farming brothers who have not spoken to each other for 40 years despite being next-door neighbours.
On a remote crop of land, they raise individual flocks descended from their family's prized bloodline.
Their nurturing of the sheep causes them to go head-to-head every year at the nearby town's competition for highest quality ram.
This year, a vet (Miranda Richardson) gives the award to Les because of the definition of its hind leg muscles.
However, when Colin quietly investigates why his ram is superior he discovers what he believes to be a deadly ovine disease.
Inevitably, this causes deep resentment in his brother but it also has far-reaching consequences for the local farming community who must destroy their sheep and be left with nothing to carve a living.
Les refuses to accept the ruling and turns to the bottle while Colin goes for a subtler form of defence.
As said, this is very much its own piece, separate from the Icelandic film although two of its makers are executive producers.
Neill is excellent as the outwardly more friendly brother who secretly has his own agenda while Caton convinces as his curmudgeonly drunken brother.
And there are deeper complementary roles from the rest of the cast than in the Icelandic original including Richardson's vet who has the glad-eye for Colin and Leon Ford as the tactless, play-it-by-the-book government official.
Rams is light fare but it kept us entertained on a dark winter lockdown evening - the only downside was that there weren't any laugh-out-loud moments.

Reasons to watch: Splendid combo of Neill and Caton
Reasons to avoid: No laugh-out-loud moments

Laughs: A few chuckles
Jumps: None
Vomit: Yes
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7.5/10

Did you know? 
 Ovine Johne Disease was first diagnosed in sheep in the central tablelands region of New South Wales in 1980. Sin. In 1999, an agreement was reached to fund and implement a six-year, $40 million National OJD Control and Evaluation Programme.

The final word. Jeremy Sims: "I looked at what I loved about the original and what did I want to know more about.  I felt like I wanted to know more about the (secondary) characters.  You met them at the beginning with the sheep show, you met the next-door neighbour – who was just a fascinating creature – and you met the vet briefly, but I felt those stories didn’t go anywhere.  So, I felt you had to build on that world and something I like doing in my movies is building a real community." The Aureview

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