Peter and the Farm Movie Review
A somber, sobering character study if you’ve ever seen one, Peter and the Farm takes an intimate look at one man, who, suffering from alcoholism and occasional despair, reflects on his life, his mistakes and the world in general.
Tony Stone directs the documentary, which essentially follows Peter Dunning as he goes about his day on his 187-acre farm, talking about whatever crosses his mind. The doc is beautifully filmed and Stone holds nothing back—a prolonged sequence of Peter killing, skinning and draining a sheep of blood had my wife covering her eyes—nor does Peter.
Peter is a fascinating individual, someone who is both proud of the work he’s put into his farm and yet extremely regretful for ever becoming a farmer—or at least for remaining a farmer all these years. His children appear to be estranged, though Peter never really explains why. But he is an alcoholic and his mood fluctuates between elation, depression and anger. He is eccentric, with strong opinions about a wide range of things, but he is also normal, relatable.
Peter and the Farm is not the kind of documentary I typically like, and I’d be lying if I said I found it riveting in the way I like my documentaries. And yet it is extremely well done and impressive given its small scale and focus. Peter is the perfect subject for a documentary such as this. The doc is engaging from start to finish.
Peter and the Farm is a different kind of documentary, but one worth visiting nonetheless.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.