The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Curzon Home Cinema] - THE COUNTY | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Curzon Home Cinema] - THE COUNTY

the county review
A widowed farmer battles her local co-op.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Grímur Hákonarson

Starring: Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir, Þorsteinn Bachmann, Þorsteinn Gunnar Bjarnason, Daniel Hans Erlendsson, Hafdís Helga Helgadóttir

the county poster

In recent years, Iceland's film industry has been punching far above its weight, so much so that its product is now in danger of becoming formulaic. Grímur Hákonarson's The County plays like something of a mashup of his own Rams and last year's breakout Icelandic hit Woman at War, echoing the rural neighbourly conflict of the former and the determined female protagonist of the latter.

the county review

When her husband's death in a road accident is revealed to have been a suicide, dairy farmer Inga (Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir) begins investigating and learns that her other half had secretly been working as a snitch for the local co-op. With the co-op raising prices, local farmers had begun sneaking off to purchase goods elsewhere, despite their contract with the co-op, and have subsequently been blacklisted. Inga begins a campaign against the co-op, initially with a series of angry Facebook posts, but soon escalating to physical confrontations that put her at odds with some members of her community while others rally around her.

the county review

One of the remarkable factors of Icelandic cinema is how many impressive actors it produces from a population of a mere 300,000. Every Icelandic movie introduces me to a new talent, as though the entire country studies acting as part of some national service, and Egilsdóttir is the latest to bowl me over. While I struggled to fully embrace Inga's campaign (isn't the co-op within its rights to eject any members who don't play along with a mutually beneficial system?), Egilsdóttir's committed performance went a long way to at least keeping me involved in her minor war. If I didn't believe in her actions, I was left in no doubt that Inga does.

the county review

The effectiveness of The County is dependent on your own political baggage and whether you view Inga vs the Co-op as a David vs Goliath battle or a case of a narcissistic farmer who refuses to stick to a communal agreement. Personally, I couldn't accept the idea of something as benevolent as a co-op as a sinister force, and The County felt like a modern day version of the sort of right wing movies Hollywood made certain 1950s directors make to prove they weren't commies.

The County is on Curzon Home Cinema from May 22nd.

2020 film reviews