Tom à la Ferme Review

Posted 9 years ago by myetvmedia

The psychological thriller Tom à la ferme(Tom At The Farm), director/screenwriter Xavier Dolan’s 4th film, is one of 20 films in competition at the 70th Venice International Film Festival. His performance as the lead character, Tom in this film is brilliant. The caliber of films in competition is exceptional with seasoned experts in contention including: Stephen Frears’s Philomena, Hayao Miyazaki’s Kaze Tachinu, David Gordon Green’s Joe, and John Curran’s Tracks (click here to see the full list).

Dolan (Laurence Anyways, Les amours imaginaires, J’ai tué ma mère) is a young Canadian filmmaker who caught media attention when his debut film J’ai tué ma mère made the cut in 2009 for the Cannes Director’s Fortnight. Tom à la ferme is based on co-writer Michel-Marc Bouchard’s play and Dolan plays the main character Tom. Dolan opens the film by taking us on a harrowing, Hitchcock like journey to Tom’s dead lover’s family farm for his funeral. An Edith Piaf song sung in a slightly high pitch is the soundtrack as we travel a long way into the Quebec countryside with Tom, a sweet, blonde, gay young Montrealer. The remote setting gets bleaker, and he arrives to find a temporarily abandoned dairy farm, a bit run down and miles from anywhere. Dolan wastes no time in plunging his characters into difficulty and danger. He is clever with this film staying with themes and locations that are very familiar territory for him. As the story unfolds each character becomes just a bit more peculiar, the tension mounting as we find Tom getting further and further out of his depth. He is unaware that he is the focus of Francis violence and manipulation. He finds himself compelled to try to alleviate Tom’s mother’s suffering, blinding him to other truths. Performances by Pierre-Yves Cardinal (the brother Francis), Lise Roy (the mother) and Evelyne Brochu (the girlfriend) are excellent and backed up by a solid supporting cast. The deference to Hitchcock is understandable but Dolan has really established his own unique story telling method that is effective and forceful.

This is a young filmmaker that we can expect to see a lot more from. Dolan confessed he has already learned so much trying to be on both sides of the camera. This Canada/France collaboration supported by Telefilm Canada will definitely see box office success and awards. It premieres next at TIFF in Toronto, Canada.


Interview with director Xavier Dolan (french version)

Director Xavier Dolan Interview (French)


Moira Romano

Shown at this year’s TIFF13 : Toronto International Film Festival and at the 70th Venice Film Festival (La Biennale di Venezia)

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