Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
Cast: Ingvar Eggert Siggurrȍson, Maria Ellingsen, Kristbjȍrg Kjeld
Running Time: 81 min
Plot: In the harsh Icelandic valley that this film’s characters manage to call home, horse rearing is – and has always been -a way of life. It is also an enabler of death, and on occasion the sole* cause of it.
*or should that be hoof HAHA
Icelandic honour is all in its tradition. In Of Horses and Men the tradition honoured is that of riding on large mammals, a hobby and a way of life that has been carried on for many thousands of years. Humans will be humans though, and the isolated community of offbeam nutjobs that live in this remote windswept ravine look beyond their everyday equine thrills to other more gratifying indulgences. Unrequited lusts, bitter neighbourly disputes and inadvisably lengthy bouts of inebriation pervade the interlocking lives of every character in this acidulously black comedy. Horses stand in the middle of this circle of madness, reflecting and projecting the same base impulses and petty concerns of their supposedly more sophisticated owners.
As horse and rider coalesce to charge across the patina of greys and greens that make up their stomping ground, the galloping rhythmic score carries you along with a mesmerising lyricism that you certainly won’t find watching Sea Biscuit, Channel 4 racing or any Western flick you probably wouldn’t care to mention. Grandiose and cerebral while maintaining an intensely bitter, un-romanticised perspective on the lives of horses and men, this is a celebration of a very unique lifestyle, made by the people that live it. Riding looks like an empowering experience, and if that activity didn’t appeal to you beforehand then it will afterwards – if only this writer wasn’t cripplingly allergic to horses.
Then again, if you’re struggling to write a mere*250 words on a film, it’s perhaps an indication that it’s not really worth a trip to the cinema to see.
*Or should that be mare hahahhahplease kill me in my sleep