Xavier Dolan's Tom At the Farm - best film I have seen in 2014

Reviews Of Recent DVD/Blu Ray releases

- Directed by Xavier Dolan

I haven’t watched the last couple of Dolan films, but damn this kid knows what he is doing. Tom At The Farm is a director at the top of his game, there is nothing flashy, but so much that is effective. Dolan plays the title character, Tom, whose boyfriend has just died somehow that we are unclear of at the beginning. 

He goes to the small Quebec farming community where the BF is from, for the funeral, to grieve with his partner's family. He quickly learns that the family not only didn’t know who he was, but that the mom at least didn’t know he was queer. These are not spoilers, but the description from the box.  The description, though is just that, it does not convey the so perfectly paced small town horrors that await Tom as he gets to know his dead lover’s family. There are so many Hitchcock, Truffaut references and transgressive twists to the story that it has a suspenseful creepiness that never leaves. In quiet scenes it is there, hanging over everyone like the dead son/lover/brother.

The film very much comes not only from a Hitchcockian suspense place, but has a lot in common with recent French, from France, or Belgian pictures, something from Francois Ozon, or Fabrice Du Welz. The latter’s film Calvaire if you have seen it, will be sitting at the edge of your memory throughout. There are a great many masterfully realized sequences, including one in a cornfield that utilize changing the film’s aspect ratio seamlessly and add to the suspense and drama, rather than seem like a gimmick.

Based on a play, the language is robust, and the characters deep. Dolan has translated the staginess of small scenes with few characters, rarely more than two, by maintaining the constant sense of suspense, something bad is going to happen any second, and sometimes does, though it is not ultra violent. Much of the ‘horror’ is off screen, or in the dark, or simply implied.

I can’t recommend this film highly enough. The best film I have seen in 2014, so far.

9.75 creepy farm families welcoming creepy city folk to funerals outta 10


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