When you title your movie Rams, there’s a good chance there’ll be some onscreen Aries-like behavior befitting the ram-ruled, Zodiac sign: head-butting, fighting, competitiveness, impatience and demonstrations of male virility. All this comes to pass in director Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams, with a bit of a twist. The pungent behavior does not emanate from the titular animals, but from two old, grizzled brothers – sporting their own metaphoric rams’ horns – who haven’t spoken for 40 years.
Hákonarson, who also wrote the script, sets his story in a rural village in Iceland. Sensible Gummi (Sigurdur Sigurjonsson) and his disgruntled and alcoholic older brother Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson) are sheep farmers who live alone on nearby farms, with an eager working dog that serves as the Mercurial, note-bearing messenger between the pair. These men have neither women nor children in their lives. Instead, their pride and joy are the highly esteemed breed of sheep they produce.
The first clue to the brothers’ personal rift is their behavior at the local sheep competition. But shortly after this event, Gummi and Kiddi, along with their fellow sheep producers, face a much bigger problem. Gummi correctly suspects that Kiddi’s rams have contracted the highly contagious virus known as scrapie, a disease that can only be contained by killing off entire flocks. Kiddi does not take the news well.
The narrative reveals the cause of the brothers’ earlier falling out. And it turns out the more reliable, law-abiding Gummi is as ornery as Kiddi, a reveal which somehow throws this duo back to the Mercurial potential for supportive, brotherly mischief-making and, in the end, maybe even reconciliation and love.
Astrology Archetype: ☿ (Mercury)