For a while, we aren’t sure why we are watching Tony Stone’s documentary Peter and the Farm. Who is Peter Dunning and why has Stone chosen him as for the subject of a feature-length documentary?
In the first part of a film, we are watching a seemingly everyday man go about his life and work on his farm. He tends to the land and animals from the moment he gets up to the moment he goes to bed. The movie spares no detail and can likely upset those with a weak stomach as Peter shoots a sheep in the head, skins it and removes its insides. Be warned.
As the film progresses, the layers and nuances of Peter are unveiled. First, we see him as a man who seems content working on his farm but there is a heartbreaking sadness and loneliness to Peter. He may seem pleased with his land and animals but it’s really all he has. He speaks of past wives and his children, who he has no relationship, and we begin to see Peter isn’t as easy-going of a subject as he appears.
It takes a little unfolding but we eventually see why Peter was a subject of interest to Stone. He could be any of us; we’ve all experienced loss, loneliness and frustrations and to see Peter’s proves to be a devastating experience.
Peter and the Farm is a snapshot of one man’s life and at times feels like it could have used a little more material. The documentary serves a specific purpose, which I won’t state here, should you choose to see the film, and it might not always be the most uplifting experience but Stone punctuates his film with Peter’s sharp humor to keep things balanced.
Documentaries are one of my favorite genres of films, especially when you can connect or relate with the subject at hand. It takes some time but Peter and the Farm ultimately packs a punch and Stone tells a story worth listening to.
Verdict: 3 out of 5
Though we aren’t sure at first why director Tony Stone wanted to make this film about this specific man, Peter and the Farm is a movie with a heartbreaking hook. It keeps you at an arms length then sneaks up on you.