Percy is supposed to be an empowering biopic based on the struggle of an independent Canadian canola farmer being silenced and pushed out of a family business by a bigger, faceless corporation; accusing the Saskatchewan farmer, Percy Schmeiser, of stealing seeds when GMO contaminants are found in his crops. The potential is there, but director Clark Johnson (S.W.A.T., Netflix’s Juanita) and screenwriters Garfield Lindsay Miller and Hilary Pryor haven’t provided other requirements to earn the attention of their viewers.
The film has a great cast, but I have a theory that casting terrific, likeable actors was part of a plan to cover up the movie’s shortcomings. Christopher Walken (who is having a particularly rough week with the release of The War with Grandpa) is the titular farmer, but there isn’t a role for him to sink into. He fulfills the template of Percy’s job as a loyal farmer with strong integrity, but there isn’t anything more to his role other than being present. But being that Walken is a charismatic screen presence, the audience wouldn’t want to see him fail, right? The same criticism can be applied to Zach Braff’s performance as Percy’s lawyer Jackson Weaver. Braff fits the fish-out-of-water build of his small-time, awkward character, but he seems cheated of his own arc. Likewise for Christina Ricci as agriculture activist Rebecca Salcau, who brings spunk to an underwritten character as Salcau uses Percy’s case to push her own environmental messages. The corporate villains are nothing more than moustache-twirling suits.
Clark Johnson efficiently connects the dots to the film’s ordinary formula, and that may be enough to satisfy audiences wanting to casually pass the time, but rushed pacing and overall negligence towards characterizations prevents Percy from feeling ripe.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie