When the Icelandic film Rams, from director Grímur Hákonarson, arrived in cinemas back in 2015, it did respectably on the arthouse and festival circuit in Australia, and that was about that. After all, a foreign language film about two estranged sheep-farming brothers reconciling in the face a looming lamb-based disaster can only hope to capture an audience of a certain size and disposition.
But here’s the thing: there’s a lot of sheep in Australia.
Which means reconfiguring the Icelandic original for local consumption is not a particularly big ask. Screenwriter Jules Duncan and director Jeremy Sims (Last Cab to Darwin) relocate the action (stretching the definition of the word to its limits) to rural Mount Barker, Western Australia, where brothers Colin (Sam Neill, affable as ever) and Les (Michael Caton, supremely mean), who operate neighbouring farms, haven’t spoken in some 30 years.