Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tom at the Farm

At some point within every director's career, there's that one point in time where they experiment with a new genre. Not always does the sudden genre change work with some directors but when it does, the result is amazing.

Such is the case with Xavier Dolan. His first three films (I Killed My Mother, Heartbeats, Laurence Anyways) focused on the complicated personal relationships between the main characters. His fourth film Tom at the Farm strays far away from the (not-so) comfortable domestic ambiance. Very far away.

Being Dolan's first film to be based on another source (in this case, Michel Marc Bouchard's play of the same name), it doesn't take long to see the tonal difference of Tom at the Farm from Dolan's earlier films. Rather than the heavy visuals clearly inspired by Wong Kar-Wai, the imagery here draws comparisons to Terrence Malick's work. It's subtle but very noticeable.

And like I Killed My Mother and Laurence Anyways, Tom at the Farm highlights the issue of homophobia. But it's not merely fear like the former two films. No, Tom at the Farm depicts it in its true hate-filled form. Sometimes the true monsters are those we mistakenly assume are friends...

Tom at the Farm is easily Dolan's best film to date. Think of what Dolan does here to what Quentin Tarantino did when he made Jackie Brown. A director with a distinct (if sometimes erratic) style makes a non-original work their own, and the result is amazing.

My Rating: *****

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