Dairy farming is a matter that has been raised a lot recently with regards the whole climate change movement, and this very intimate, personal film shines a light on the plight of a typical, average cow reared in such an environment, who inevitably meets with a grim conclusion.
Arnold has admittedly tried to aim for a very personal, close up film, which shines through in scenes at the beginning, with Luma staring directly into the camera with an almost pleading glare, but the complete lack of context ends up leaving the viewer alienated. To anyone not familiar with the agricultural process, some sort of overhead offering some kind of explanation as to what is taking place, or some statistics around dairy farming, would have put us in the picture and made it more involving.
With the lack of verbal input, Arnold uses an emotive soundtrack at various points to illicit our feelings. It all builds up to a grim, unoptimistic ending, not quite as gory as you may has envisaged, but still pretty stark and brutal, in the end pulled off with all the subtlety of a mafia hit. If only there'd been a little more context and clarity to it all, and his brutally tragic story could have had the true impact Arnold was aiming for.
- Cow (2021)