‘Rams’ – Film Review – THN

A review of Sam Neill’s latest Australia-set drama.

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Throughout lockdown, celebrities have been posting little insights into their day to day lives, with results ranging from the charming to the cringe worthy. One such celeb that falls very much on the side of charming is Sam Neill. Even before the pandemic, Neill has maintained a very wholesome collection of videos and images across his Instagram and Twitter which follow him and his day to day life out on his farm and vineyard. With animals from cows to sheep, pigs, dogs and chickens, Neill clearly has a love for getting his hands dirty and caring for farmyard creatures both great and small. 

It is no surprise, then, that the Australian film Rams appealed to the veteran actor. Based on an Icelandic film of the same name, but with the scenery transplanted to Western Australia, Rams sees Neill play local shepherd Colin, who lives out on his old family farm in a small remote farming community. He shares the land with his brother, Les (Michael Caton), who raises his own flock of the award-winning family bloodline of sheep, but the two men haven’t spoken to each other in decades. When an outbreak of a rare and lethal ovine illness, the authorities order that every sheep in the valley be slaughtered. With Les turning to drink, Colin tries to find a way to keep their family line of ovine alive. Could this be the push the estranged brothers finally need to reconcile their differences? 

With moments of comedy and family drama, Rams is a heartfelt depiction of an endearing community hit by hard times. It is also a very well-observed expression of the stubbornness of men of an older generation when it comes to communication and the means in which they express their feelings. It is certainly this latter aspect that the film is most successful at, particularly in the early stages of the film when establishing the differences between the two brothers. Colin is more organised, tidier and has a much neater sense of operation on his farm, while Les has more of a mud, sweat and spit approach, with a clear dependence on alcohol leading to an unkempt farm. 

Full review over at THN, originally published February 2nd 2021.

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