You don't trifle with an honest farmer like Anthony Hopkins.
A milk cow farmer in Wales is ruined by the regulations from Brussels. The father and his two sons react in different ways. The sons go into demonstrations, while the father, when he is visited by two EU bureaucrats, tries his own way of convincing them of the facts of his position. Of course, they fail to understand each other.
It's almost documentary in character, closely following the family on the risky road of progress, as the sons insist on modernization, while the father predicts it will be the ruin of them all. The mother is more sympathetic and tries to appease all hard feelings and possible elements of conflict.
At the same time it is highly dramatic, as the film starts in the end and shows how Anthony Hopkins is taken by the police, and in the course of the film you follow step by step how his fury is building up and you just wait for the blast, which ultimately takes very unusual turns.
The Welsh landscape is beautiful, and you can well understand how the Welsh farmer must love his land. The cows also play an important part, he is listening to his cows and teaches his granddaughter to learn about them too, and the scenes between the aging farmer and the child are perhaps the most interesting and adorable.
Anthony Hopkins makes an unforgettable performance, almost as usual, the farmer is not very bright or intelligent, unlike his sons, but is the more personal and extremely idiosyncratic - you can never guess what he will do next, and Anthony Hopkins is expert at such totally unpredictable characters.
All actors are perfectly convincing and natural, 'organic' as Polanski would have described it, and it's a very thought-provoking account at the same time as it is infinitely sad and melancholy. Hopkins' conversations with his dead father and his flashback memories add to the extreme humanity of this documentation. He never uses his gun, but his words cut the deeper and the sharper for their tremendous truth of an injustice to gross and deep to be able to be rectified.
When he is offered money for the loss of his cows and his farm: "How about our pain? Our heartbreak and despair? How much is that worth? Then there is the past, the memories. How much are they worth? Our history, our mothers and fathers, all gone, all lost! Can you work it out? Have you got the scales? Can you get it into figures?" The bureaucrat: "I am sorry, Mr. Philips, I can't quite follow."
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