Percy Vs. Goliath – Film Review

Percy Vs. Goliath (also known as Percy) is a biographical drama film that is directed by Clark Johnson and is based on the inspirational true story of a Canadian farmer who takes on a giant corporation.

The story starts in 1998 in the Canadian town of Bruno, Saskatchewan where we are introduced to Percy Schmeiser (Christopher Walken), an elderly third generation farmer who finds out that he is being sued by the Monsanto corporation for allegedly using their patented seeds. Due to limited funds and resources, Percy enlists the help of inexperienced attorney, Jackson Weaver (Zach Braff) and environmental activist Rebecca Salcau (Christina Ricci) to ensure that other farmers crops stay protected.

Percy Vs. Goliath may not be breaking any new filmmaking boundaries as director Clark Johnson keeps things simple. He often cuts between shots of the farm with scenes involving Percy and the other characters. One technique that I thought was very well done was when a character was speaking in court and the film would showcase flashbacks of the incidents that the character was talking about. While watching Percy Vs. Goliath, you can’t help but admire the type of person that Percy is. He is determined to stand up against a big corporation despite the strain that the court case is having on him and his family, he is far too stubborn to quit and I believe that that alone should be applauded.  

It might be easy to forget how good of an actor Christopher Walken is but during any scene where Percy makes a speech and is speaking on behalf of every farmer in the world, you can see how much he cares about his farm as it is his family’s legacy, and he doesn’t want other farmers to experience what he is going through. His acting depth can also be seen when his character is on a trip to India and is mortified to find out that Indian farmers are committing suicide, as they are in too much debt, similar circumstances to Percy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Christina Ricci as Rebecca Salcau. I liked how supportive of Percy she was, staying with him on his farm and following him on overseas trips to support him on his mission. I would have liked to have seen more of Zach Braff as Jackson Weaver, I felt his character was interesting, as an up-and-coming attorney who is attempting a case that most of his peers would not touch. Sadly, he isn’t featured as much as I would have liked, but he is still a delight to watch.

While Percy Vs. Goliath may seem all too familiar, it is still a classic underdog story. So, if you enjoy dramatic films about sticking it to the giant corporations, then this is the film for you. Plus the acting performances of Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci and Zach Braff make this a film that is certainly worth setting aside some time for. 

Percy Vs. Goliath premiered at the 2020 Quebec City Film Festival and is in Australian cinemas now.

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