With Tom at the Farm 25-year-old Xavier Dolan, the French-Canadian filmmaker feted for glossy-precocious gay/bi dramas (I Killed My Mother, Laurence Anyways) seems to have decided, “Enough is enough and possibly too much.” The new film is a Hitchcockish thriller, low-key and lightly drizzled with homoeroticism. No hectic sexuality switches, no zappings of gaudy style as bereaved gay Tom (Dolan) is exposed to the ambivalent aggro of his dead lover’s older brother Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), when Tom visits his late partner’s family farm.
Mother (Lise Roy) is spun a tale about the dead boy’s hetero history. A girl Tom knows is dragged in for story support. At the movie’s sinisterly beating heart – a little arrhythmic late-on as different potential denouements are toyed with and discarded – is the growing lie lived by all. For an hour it’s doomy, gnomic, medium-enthralling. Then the solemn teasings start to tire. We begin to want a straight answer, or even a gay one; and a bit less shilly-shallying in the existential shadows.