Review: The County

Theatrical Poster 203x300 - Review: The CountyAt the center of this Icelandic drama is Inga (Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir), a widow who’s been left to run an isolated dairy farm mired in debt. It’s not impossible to run it on her own since the whole place has been roboticized. But she is alone and surprised to find how badly she and the other farmers are being treated by the co-op they’re all members of.  And as she finds out more and more about the heavy handed way the head of the co-op has been running things, she gets more and more outraged.  She takes to the Internet and calls out the corruption and the leader himself. And at first it creates a rift between the farmers, but Inga’s got nothing to lose and slowly she wakes the rest of the farmers. The County is a #girlpower drama and Inga is an Icelandic Frances McDormand take-no-sh*t heroine.

The film opens with Inga in the barn helping one of the cows birth a calf. Then she’s off to the milking barn to make sure the robots are all working properly. She and her husband, despite the robots have long, hard days, but they’re okay, though she’s ready for a change. Then one night he’s killed when his truck goes off the road. And she’s alone, and the bill collector from the co-op comes to threaten her for payment. And she realizes that the co-op guys are just thugs. She takes to Facebook to call them out, even describing them as The Mafia for their tactics, which doesn’t go down well. Then she discovers that her husband was being blackmailed into ratting out the other farmers who were buying supplies elsewhere rather than from the co-op, saving lots of money. It was eating him up inside. And she’s out for blood.

The County doesn’t play like a revenge drama. There’s no grandstanding, but Inga’s eventually able to convince her friends and fellow farmers that they deserve better. She also has some fun taking on the big guys with the weapons at hand, like when she takes her tractor into town after the co-op has stopped her from selling her milk, and sprays the Co-op building with it instead. The director is smart to stay with Inga throughout, and her face tells the story, resolute and determined. She’s out to save her community and of course she does. It’s a very satisfying David and Goliath tale.

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