Grímur Hákonarson’s The County (Héraðið) stars Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir as Inga, a woman who works with her husband, Friðgeir (Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson), on their dairy farm in Iceland. When a tragic event takes her husband from her, Inga is left widowed, thus solely responsible to deal with the farm’s debts. In the aftermath of her husband’s death, Inga begins to uncover the corruption within the farm Cooperative in their community and decides to take matters into her own hands to fight against this monopoly.

Egilsdóttir’s performance in this film is its most notable aspect, as the storyline is unfortunately not nearly as strong. She’s understated yet powerful, especially during brief moments of quiet when alone and tending to her farm, the weight of her husband’s absence hanging in the air. We never feel as if Inga is weak even when she is mourning, as Egilsdóttir portrays her as brave, making the audience want to root for her cause.

The purposeful avoidance of delving deeper into Inga’s psyche is understandable, but does put our protagonist at arm’s length, which could have led the film to turn out much worse if not for Egilsdóttir’s ability to convey emotion just through her facial expressions and body language. The film utilises wide shots quite often to allow us to observe the scenery, as if to further emphasize the fact that this is not just about Inga, but rather that it is about the greater good of their community. 

Despite this, The County ends up feeling monotonous, as the pieces all fall into a very familiar place. The most compelling scenes take place at the beginning, but as the film continues it tends to follow an overdone formula that ends on a predictable and disappointing note.

RATING: 2/5

Available to watch on: Curzon Home Cinema


INFORMATION

CAST: Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir, Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson

DIRECTOR: Grímur Hákonarson

WRITER: Grímur Hákonarson

SYNOPSIS: A widowed farmer begins her new life by fighting against the corruption in her community.