Movie review of “Tom at the Farm”: A gay Montreal man (played by Xavier Dolan) meets the family of his deceased lover on their isolated farm in this spooky French-Canadian thriller. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
The spookiest scenes in Xavier Dolan’s chilling new French-Canadian thriller, “Tom at the Farm,” take place on an isolated farm far from Montreal.
Despite signs of human activity, the ghostly place seems unwelcoming to a gay city boy attending the rural funeral of his lover. Tom knows next to nothing about the dead man’s mother (Lise Roy) and brother (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), who take turns displaying hostility and cluelessness to the visitor.
What little Tom can piece together about the family is partly truth and partly fiction, depending on what’s convenient for the survivors to reveal. Either they’re self-deluded or they’re deliberately misleading, and who’s to judge? Are they, as one character suggests, just a gang of psychos?
Movie Review ★★★
‘Tom at the Farm,’ with Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy. Directed by Dolan, from a screenplay by Dolan and Michel Marc Bouchard. 102 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains rough language). In French, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion, through Thursday.
Dolan, a triple-threat talent whose previous work includes “Mommy” and “I Killed My Mother,” plays Tom as a desperate soul in need of grounding. As a director of actors, Dolan is especially strong at capturing ambiguous menace and sharing the screen. Cardinal nearly steals the show with his slippery interpretation of the bullying yet protective brother.
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And as a director of visuals and editing effects, Dolan deserves comparisons with Hitchcock. The storyline may be slight and ultimately too theatrical, but several moments here take your breath away.