Rams: Film Review


As a massive Jurassic Park fan, I will watch Sam Neill in anything, hence why I ended up checking out Rams. I genuinely thought I was signing up for an oddball comedy about sheep farmers but it turned out to have far more heart than I was expecting.

Neill plays Colin, who runs a sheep farm literally next door to his estranged brother Les (Michael Caton). Despite their physical closeness, the neighbouring brothers couldn’t be more distant – they haven’t spoken in years following a rift. When Les’ prized ram is diagnosed with a rare and lethal illness, all farmers in the remote Mount Barker region of Western Australia are ordered to kill their flocks to prevent the spread and their livelihoods are put at risk, but Colin opts to secretly outwit the Department of Agriculture officials and Les goes for angry defiance of the rules. Can the warring brothers set aside their differences to save the family’s prized flock?

I was expecting a simple-minded raucous comedy about sheep, but Rams, a remake of the 2015 Icelandic film of the same name, is far more warm and charming than I was prepared for. It has quite a few funny moments and some great animal acting scenes – particularly with the top-secret sheep cover-up plan – but they sit within the context of a much more down-to-earth rural drama which focuses on the themes of family, communication, and community. It becomes even more tender and heartfelt nearer the end when a bushfire looms on the horizon, threatening livelihoods already decimated by the sheep disease even further.

Neill is well cast as the affable brother, who is well-liked in town, friendly with the other local farmers and likes to tell his sheep they’re beautiful, while Caton plays his polar opposite as Les. He’s gruff, rough, and a loner who often likes to drink too much and fall into a stupor in the scorching Australia sun. They’re surrounded by a great support cast too, from Miranda Richardson as British vet Kat and Asher Keddie as fellow farmer Angela.

There’s a lot more to Rams, directed by Jeremy Sims, than I was expecting. There’s a great mix of comedy and drama, uplifting moments and sad ones, and I cared about the story and characters more than I thought I would when I first saw the marketing materials. Don’t let them deceive you!

Available on digital platforms from Friday 5th February

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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