This is a lovely, even-tempered comedy-drama about men and rural life, gentle but firm of spirit. Though based on the Icelandic film, I would not label this a faithful remake as the films are quite different. Yes, both involve sheep and cantankerous brothers. But the Icelandic original is a bleak, black Scandi comedy. This version is much more light-hearted and approachable.
Though different, true for both films is the message that there’s a sense of loneliness and isolation that you can get even if you live in the middle of a town. The conflict between the brothers affects everyone, no matter where they live, because everyone has conflicts within close family. The story is universal.
In remote Western Australia, two estranged brothers, Colin and Les, are at war. Raising separate flocks of sheep descended from their family’s prized bloodline, the two men work side by side yet are worlds apart. When Les’s prize ram is diagnosed with a rare and lethal illness, authorities order a purge of every sheep in the valley. While Colin attempts to stealthily outwit the powers that be, Les opts for angry defiance. But can the warring brothers set aside their differences and have a chance to reunite their family, save their herd, and bring their community back together?
I guess it’s a cinematic rule of thumb that anything starring our national treasure Sam Neill is worth the ticket price and this is no exception. There’s far more grit and heart than expected based on the terrible poster!
Australia 2020, 119 min, rated PG (violence & coarse language)
Directed by Jeremy Sims
Starring Sam Neill, Michael Caton, Miranda Richardson, Asher Keddie, Hayley McElhinney, Travis McMahon, Leon Ford & Wayne Blair