Xavier Dolan‘s first stab at a popular genre is a domestic thriller with gestures (often musical) toward Hitchcock. The Beav and I saw it a few weeks before Dolan’s latest film won the jury prize at Cannes.
Tom à la ferme moves away from the art-house, festival films he’s made before — J’ai tué ma mére, Les Amours imaginaires, and Laurence Anyways — and is based on someone else’s work, so in many ways this is Dolan’s biggest experiment to date. It is also, to my eye, his least successful film. It doesn’t quite manage to “inhabit” the genre. And genre is a merciless thing.
Yet, there’s good stuff here. I liked the odd too-long scene in the bar when Dolan plays against his father and thought that the final chase through the woods hit the note of menace and sadness and frustration perfectly.
So I’m sticking to my guns: Dolan remains the most interesting filmmaker working in Quebec.