percy vs. goliath
director: Clark Johnson (juanita)
starring: christopher walken, christina ricci, zach braff and roberta maxwell
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
A Canadian farmer takes on a giant corporation after their GMOs interfere with his crops.
Percy vs Goliath was directed by Clark Johnson and is a biographical drama that follows the tribulations endured by Percy and Louise Schmeiser after being accused by the agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto of patent infringement through the growing and harvesting of patented seeds without a licence.
While such a premise on its face may seem somewhat dry, Percy vs Goliath is an affecting drama with an engaging story that spends time in both courtrooms and the wider world, showing how farmers both local and international to Percy and Louise supported their cause, and how the Schmeiser’s addressed their challenges. They are wonderfully portrayed by Christopher Walken and Roberta Maxwell, with great support from Zach Braff as their overwhelmed small town lawyer, and Christina Ricci as an ambitious but earnest NGO representative and media liaison.
The film seems to play with history a little, presumably for the sake of simplicity - as the real Percy Schmeiser was engaged in various political and community service roles in the decades prior to the events of the film. This history, no doubt would have assisted him when he really became an international spokesperson for independent farmer’s rights during the events portrayed in the film. Instead the film presents Percy as a reticent farmer, humble and perturbed by his sudden notoriety. This choice doesn’t detract from the film but rather emphasises the tone of championing the underdog - and even the righteousness of his cause.
Percy vs Goliath, while aptly named, explores what is to persist in championing a just cause in the face of overwhelming odds. The little bright moments of humanity that keep the Schmeiser’s going when the going gets tough give the film its heart and help make Percy vs Goliath a charming and heartwarming ode to the power of ordinary people.
Percy vs Goliath is an entertaining, charming and heartwarming ode to the power of ordinary people.