Insert dung joke here

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM - TARA BRADY

OF HORSES AND MEN ★★ Di­rected by Benedikt Erlingsson. Star­ring Ing­var Eg­gert Sig­urðs­son, Char­lotte Bøv­ing, Helgi Björns­son

Club, IFI, Dublin, 81 min

This un­pleas­ant, un­even Ice­landic drama con­cerns an iso­lated eques­trian com­mu­nity hat, de­spite its ap­par­ent de­pen­dence on the pretty, wild horses of the area, seems to view manes and tails as char­ac­ter­is­tics that fall some­where be­tween the rat and fae­cal mat­ter.

An open­ing se­quence fol­lows Kol­beinn, a stiff coun­try gen­tle­man, as he calls on ea­ger lo­cal widow, Solveig. When the mare he is rid­ing – his pride and joy – is in­ter­fered with by a lo­cal stal­lion, he promptly shoots the poor beast for giv­ing it up too eas­ily.

The in­ci­dent sets the tone for a se­quence of mishaps, fu­ner­als and horse butch­ery. In the­ory, these shaggy, grim over­lap­ping vi­gnettes ought to per­suade us that we’re watch­ing a black com­edy. In prac­tice, there’s lit­tle by way of lev­ity, dark hued or other­wise.

No horses were killed dur­ing this pro­duc­tion, prom­ises an end ti­tle card. We’re also in­formed that the people on­screen are horse lovers. Sadly, this news does lit­tle to jus­tify the ran­dom collection of equine abuses. One beast is cas­trated; an­other is dis­em­bow­elled. The land­scape, flanked by vol­ca­noes and marvels of the gla­cial age, is beau­ti­fully shot. The horses are lovely to be­hold un­til they’re snipped at or blud­geoned. But the cho­rus of plot­lines never does congeal into a sat­is­fy­ing nar­ra­tive.

We wait for a Night of the Equ­usstyle re­venge se­quence that never comes.

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