Title – Rams (2020)
Director – Jeremy Sims (Last Cab to Darwin)
Cast – Sam Neill, Michael Caton, Asher Keddie, Miranda Richardson, Wayne Blair
Plot – Farmers and estranged brothers Colin (Neill) and Les (Caton) must reunite after years of animosity when a deadly disease threatens to ruin their livelihoods and that of all the residents of small farming community in rural Australia.
“It smells like sheep”
Review by Eddie on 09/02/2021
Based on the 2015 Icelandic movie of the same name, the Australian reimagining of Rams is the type of gentle and generic local affair that has plagued the Oz film industry for a number of years, with this harmless but instantly forgettable drama one that is unlikely to make a legacy in local audiences minds in the years to come.
Teaming up industry icons Sam Neill and Michael Caton for the first time since the late 70’s, Jeremy Sims’s film is one that is made and delivered with an assured hand in all instances but it plays out in such an uninspired and formulaic manner that its hard to get overly invested in the trials and tribulations of estranged farming brothers Colin and Les.
Oddly marketed during its cinematic run last year (a long standing showing at cineplexes thanks to Covid-19) as some type of odd ball dramedy, Sim’s film skews far more towards straight up drama as the small town of Mount Barker in Western Australia finds itself in the midst of a deadly disease affecting their sheep herds and the livelihoods of Sam Neill’s and Michael Caton’s aging farmer brothers, with the duo having to put the past behind them as they look to save themselves and way of life they are familiar with.
Rams was always ahead of the game in some regards as soon as it cast Neill and Caton, who at this age of their careers are like everyone’s favorite elderly uncles or grandfathers and they make for affable company in the film as it trudges through the motions and both long standing performers acquit themselves well in their roles but neither the kindly Colin or the more grouchy Les make for overly intriguing characters in what ends up feeling like an underwritten and developed tale that is merely ticking off key boxes as it drives towards its destination.
Throughout the films near two hour runtime you’d be hard pressed to remember a significant stand out scene or component while everyone outside of Neill and Caton may as well have slept through their various side parts in the film with the likes of TV favourite Asher Keddie, veteran Miranda Richardson or recognizable face Wayne Blair getting very little to do as Colin and Les plot ways to outsmart government agencies, learn to be friends once more and save their small town from ruin.
Final Say –
An Australian film that merely feels as though its going through the motions rather than doing anything special in its own way or right, Rams has the benefit of starring two local mainstays that are always a pleasure to watch but very little else that is worth recommending for viewers seeking their next dosage of Australian film goodness.
2 1/2 outside showers out of 5