Directed by: Xavier Dolan
Tom at the Farm is the latest film by the young Canadian director, Xavier Dolan, set in rural French Canada, quite a change in backdrop from his previous work. Dolan takes the lead role of Tom, a guy from Montreal, who visits the childhood home of his boyfriend, Guillaume, after he dies in an accident. But of course, all is not as it seems with his mother, Agathe and brother Francis. Hell bent on keeping Tom at the farm, Francis pulls Tom into a strange, abusive (but platonic) relationship.
The only way to really describe Tom at the Farm is a Hitchcock-ian thriller, at the centre of which is a kind of love story that fits very well into Dolan’s filmography. It’s not an attempt at making a Hitchcock thriller, or paying some kind of homage to the Master of Suspense, but it has that tone of suspense and thrill that Hitchcock was so good at. Even the premise of the film is something that could be one of his plots. The influences may not have been intentional, but all the same Dolan handles that aspect of the film very well. It’s a strange conundrum to be in, but a very good sign, when you want a character to get out of a bad situation, but you also don’t, because you want the film to keep going.
Apart from Laurence Anyways, Dolan has always taken the lead role in his films, and so far it seems to be working perfectly well. He knows what he wants, he’s a competent actor, so who better to portray his creations than himself? Pierre Yves-Cardinal has given a convincingly disconcerting performance as Francis, and the two of them work well together. There’s a great scene where the two of them tango, which kind of comes out of the blue, but a lot of what Francis does comes without warning.
Xavier Dolan is one person’s film career who I think I truly envy. He’s so young, and yet he’s made four great films already. They may not be films I would make, but he has been consistent in terms of quality, and all four are great achievements. I don’t want to say much about the film, because I don’t want to spoil it, and I think it needs to be watched, rather than read about.
Tom at the Farm screens at the London Film Festival on the 11th & 15th October, and will release in 2014.
- LFF Review: As I Lay Dying (maahinandfilms.wordpress.com)
- Preview of The 57th BFI London Film Festival (maahinandfilms.wordpress.com)