Review by Adam Donato
Do you like sheep? Then this is the movie for you! Rams is about an old man, played by Sam Neill of Jurassic Park fame, who owns a sheep farm right next to his brother that hasn’t spoken to him in decades. Michael Caton, who plays the brother, reteams with Jeremy Sims (director) after their last film together, Last Cab to Darwin. The film is set in Western Australia and is a remake of Grimur Hakonarson’s 2015 film of the same name. Is Rams a good remake of a movie?
Obviously, one does not have to be super well versed in the subject matter of a movie to be entertained by it. Some of the best movies introduce the audience to a whole world they didn’t previously know the ins and outs about. A good movie can be made about anything. Rams is not one of them. Now the movie is devoid of quality. When remaking a well received film, it’s difficult to make a movie that justifies its own existence, but it also has the added benefit of a template of what they should be doing. There’s definitely a good movie that can be made for some story. Sheep are, at best, a niche interest, so making a movie about them is a challenge when trying to appeal to audience members who only know that sheep make wool and say “baaa”. In this respect, it succeeded. The sheep are the most interesting part of the movie. Seeing them run around and be sheep is cool, not to mention learning about everything that goes into the sheep industry is interesting. The sheep are not the problem.
Remember the guy who is just blown away seeing that dinosaurs travel in herds in Jurassic Park? Even back in the early nineties, Neill was an angry old man. Although this time he is without the Spielberg charm that was given to his “I hate kids” character. In Rams, he’s just a quiet, angry guy, and not in the cool “Ryan Gosling in Drive” kind of way. The only time he shows any emotion is when he is alone with his sheep. He’s not funny and his emotional scenes do not land.
The rest of the cast does a much better job. There is a lot of personality in the other sheep farmers. The love interest and the villain are handled so well. You’re rooting for her as much as you want that weasel to lose. The movie is shot very well. It must be hard to make a whole bunch of shots of sheep look good. Some moments in the movie work, but it’s fair to think that the original had handled things better. Also, don’t be ashamed if you had to look up the difference between a ram and a sheep. That is not necessary knowledge.
If one thinks sheep are cute, it would be a morally conflicting recommendation. To the hardcore fans of sheep, it’s your time to shine. While it is a nice ode, it’s also quite the dour picture. There are some funny moments here and there, but not enough to call it a comedy. It's decently enjoyable though, and certainly a memorable watch. Rams is exactly what the poster looks like it is. Two old dudes and an animal, the animal, sheep. Maybe it was a ram. It did have the horns.
Rams hits VOD on February 5.