Tom at the Farm

(Tom à la ferme)
(Canada, 2013, 105 mins, DCP)
In French
CAST Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy


Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother), one of Canada’s most provocative and boundary pushing filmmakers, dips his toes into the mainstream with this gripping psychological thriller. Dolan plays the grief-stricken Tom, who ventures into the bucolic Quebec countryside for his lover’s funeral, only to become a pawn in a sadistic game perpetrated by the deceased’s savage, sexually repressed brother (Pierre-Yves Cardinal).

Nimbly juggling elements of noir, suspense and melodrama, Dolan demonstrates equal technical bravura as he daringly narrows his film’s aspect ratio, as the narrative progresses, cleverly conveying precisely how inescapable Tom’s circumstances have become. A far more rugged and menacing affair than you’d expect from Dolan, Tom at the Farm captivates throughout and leaves you wondering what else the multi-hyphenate might be capable of.

"An improbably exciting match of knife-edge storytelling and a florid vintage aesthetic best represented by Gabriel Yared’s glorious orchestral score. Dolan’s most accomplished and enjoyable work to date… Though the film is based on a stage play by Michel-Marc Bouchard (who shares screenwriting credit with Dolan), there’s more than a hint of Patricia Highsmith to this heady tale of elastically assumed identities and erotically charged male rivalry…" Guy Lodge, Variety

"In Quebec, no one can hear you scream… A tense, potent pleasure: imagine a Claude Chabrol thriller half-drunk on its own feints and seductions… By far his best film." Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph

"Taut, creepy, compelling and sexy." Ben Walters, Time Out London