Film Review: Rams

Sam Neill is one of a rare breed of actor who seems to make everything better. He is a reassuring presence and even when he pops up on social media, usually on his farm, the Kiwi brings happiness and joy to many. He’s had a surprisingly eclectic career, from big blockbusters such as Jurassic Park & The Hunt for Red October, award-winners like The Piano & The Daughter and genre favourites Event Horizon & In the Mouth of Madness. He stays close to home in his new film, Rams.

Estranged brothers Colin (Neill) and Les (Michael Caton) are sheep farmers in remote Western Australia. Despite living side by side, Les is openly hostile and the pair haven’t talked for as long as anyone can remember. However, they both share the same obsession; breeding their flocks which descend from the family’s prized bloodline. When Les’ show-winning ram is diagnosed with a lethal disease, the valley has to be purged of livestock. Both men respond in their own unique way.

Rams is a warm-hearted drama which tackles modern-day issues in a thoughtful and responsible way. Whilst it has much in common with its Icelandic namesake, which is a direct inspiration, Jeremy Sims’ film is unmistakably Australian. Indeed, it’s set to the backdrop of bush fires, which have been decimating the countryside over the last few years. There’s a seam of acerbic Aussie humour which runs throughout Rams, keeping much of the action light, even in the most parlous circumstances.

Rams is released on Digital by Signature Entertainment on 5 February.

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