In remote Western Australia, two estranged brothers, Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton), 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?
A re-imagining of the Icelandic film Hrútar (2015), set in Australia. See more »
When Colin simply pulls up a board that Les has shot a hole into, it is shown to have a tongue and groove. The tongue and groove would make it impossible to pull up the board without a lot of work on the other boards. See more »
What's Sam Neill worth as a star in a film these days? Well pretty much everything, it's clear from this and other films he has been in, in recent years. Despite his ageing countenance and gently sagging paunch, his sardonic presence is compellingly attractive. He's just relentlessly bankable, like the late great Sean Connery. This antipodean sheep drama is a good fit for his real life persona as he is at least an honorary adopted Australian. The story is a good fit for Australia, too, although I understand it is a tale from Iceland. I imagine that farming in harsh conditions is one thing the two countries have in common. I had better declare myself here and say that small farming communities, dusty roads, rough rural fences and gates, and somewhat ramshackle farm buildings are very familiar to me as a country dwelling Aussie. The struggle to wrench a living from the land in the face of the adversities of nature is part of our pioneer heritage, and deeply felt but taciturn natures who occasionally express themselves with ironic humour are typical of the country Australian. Moving to objectivity about the film, I felt that the dialogue could have been wittier, and the minor characters better acted. I did wonder what non-Australians might make of it - let me assure you that even I couldn't understand some of the dialogue in the early part of the film. Let me also say I have no liking for sheep at all - they are desert-makers part excellence. The hills seen in the background of the landscape shots are the Stirling Ranges, which are a wonderland of native flora and fauna. If I could restore the barren sheep paddocks of this area to their native state I would gladly never eat another lamb chop in my life. To provide a summarizing comment about the film, it is a sufficiently engaging tale and a painless way to spend a couple of hours in the cinema.
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