I make no apology for repeating something I opined in my review for Laurence Always (2012) that I could not help but marvel at Xavier Dolan’s undeniable filmmaking skill, a young man of immense and unique talent. I went on to state that he is the best-unknown film director working in the movie industry at present and that hopefully his latest and fifth feature film Mommy (2014) would have brought him the attention he so obviously deserves. I can say without doubt that this young man has not made a bad film to date and his fourth film, the only one of his films I had not seen so far, was certainly no reason to change my opinion.
Described as a psychological thriller, Dolan has adapted an original play by playwright Michel Marc Bouchard and takes the title role in Tom at the Farm (2013) as well as directing, producing and editing. This strangely hypnotic and mature drama is about a young advertising copywriter from the big city who travels to an isolated farm for the funeral of his lover Guillaume. When he arrives at the farm he is shocked to find out that Guillaume’s family, brother Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) and doting mother Agathe (Lise Roy), has no idea who he is or any thing about his relationship with the deceased. Right from the start it’s the menacing Francis that attempts to control the situation by his bullying of Tom, forcing him to deny his sexuality in front of Agathe and lie about her sons true sexual identity even going as far as to invite Guillaume’s co-worker Sara (Evelyne Brochu) to visit the farm to pretend to have been his girlfriend. The narrative gets even darker when Tom discovers why the local town folk will not go anywhere near the farm.
This intriguing movie sets out to illustrate the gap between the lifestyle and liberal attitudes of city dweller Tom, and Francis, a social outcast who is rotting away in the isolation of his country setting in rural Quebec. Dolans writing and direction lead us in to the dark areas of the human kind like sadness and grief along side hostility, lies, deceit and violence all played out with the minimum of actors, a fact that takes away nothing from this well played acutely poignant and emotional adaptation. Xavier Dolan’s latest movie Its Only the End of the World is due for release in 2016.
‘What we don’t know will hurt us’