Tom at the Farm

“Heading to the rural home of his recently deceased boyfriend, it’s clear that the title character of  Tom at the Farm is entering terra incognita. The closer he gets, the narrower and rougher the roads, the starker the landscape, and the deeper the sense of isolation.
“The punky leather jacket and the profusion of blond-streaked hair already mark Tom as an outsider. So after meeting his lover’s mother — who has no idea of the actual nature of their relationship — and his cruel, manipulative older brother Francis — who does — why does Tom decide to extend his stay?
“That’s among the many intriguing questions at the heart of the film, based on the play by Michel Marc Bouchard. It’s adapted by Quebecois wunderkind Xavier Dolan. Dolan directs and also plays the lead character in Tom at the Farm, instilling it with a creeping sense of menace and mystery.
“Tom’s not the only outcast. The family has pariah status in the community and even the local priest doesn’t know them well. But it’s the cat-and-mouse game between Tom and Francis — who so casually abuses him — that propels the narrative along, creating a sense of danger and intrigue in a compelling way.
“Dolan, at 25 an accomplished director, is also a pretty fine actor. His opaque eyes and face convey a range of emotions without ever revealing what lies below the surface. That goes double for Pierre-Yves Cardinal, who plays older brother Francis with a potent combination of seething rage and raw sex appeal.
“Lise Roy is the third side of the triangle as Agathe, a mother in mourning who may be harbouring secrets of her own and whose own propensity for sudden violence goes some way to explaining her surviving son’s inclination to use intimidation to get what he wants.
“Dolan brings a strong sense of mood and authenticity to the rural setting. Though in the end, the story — true to Bouchard’s text — never provides solid answers, it’s the enigmatic relationship between the two principals, and the undercurrents in their characters to propel them, that make Tom at the Farm a dark and unsettling journey to the countryside.” - Bruce DeMara , Toronto Star 


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