"The Power of the Dog" (2021) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #162 Gem Mint 10
"The Power of the Dog" (2021)
Director: Jane Campion
Writer: Jane Campion, Thomas Savage (novel)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Keith Carradine
Rated: R for brief sexual content/full nudity
Runtime: 2h 6m
Genre: Drama | Romance | Western
Country: United Kingdom | Canada | Australia | New Zealand
Available on: Various VOD platforms / Netflix
"Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love."
You might like this if you like: Dramas, Romance, Westerns, Jane Campion, Thomas Savage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Keith Carradine
'The Power of the Dog' (2021)
I should lead with ‘The Piano’ (1993) by director Jane Campion is my favorite film of all time so when I saw the trailer for a new Campion film I couldn’t have been more pleased! Just from the trailer the cinematography looked incredible. A whole new setting for Campion to show off her visuals and she created one of the most gorgeous westerns.
Kodi Smit-McPhee (left) & Benedict Cumberbatch (right) in 'The Power of the Dog' (2021)
By the time I watched it I had forgotten most of the trailer asides from remembering Benedict Cumberbatch because he was on the poster too, and a few pretty images I remembered from it as well. Again, my prior love for Campion and what I saw in the trailer was enough of sell for me.
Kirsten Dunst (Interview with a Vampire, Spider-Man, Melancholia) , Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Kodi Smit McPhee (Let Me In) were so fantastic. I loved seeing them all in this dreary Western setting which felt new for me to see them and Benedict did such a strong job. Possibly my favorite role asides from ‘Doctor Strange’ that he’s ever been in. Same with Kodi Smit McPhee. Maybe for even all of them.
Jesse Plemons (left) & Kirsten Dunst (right) in 'The Power of the Dog' (2021)
At first when I started watching this though, I was a little concerned that this leading white male character who was god awful was supposed to be this hero of the film and it kind of turned me off until it started to reveal itself that this was the point of it all and it kind of was showing us how we need to let go of the past and it’s ways sometimes.
For a movie about such a mean man, it was very interesting to see it directed and written by the hands of a woman. I think it gave for Cumberbatch’s best performance and you could see this beautiful collaboration in finding the character together. I could feel that with McPhee’s character too. This movie needed a woman’s touch so strongly and it worked beautifully.
Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Power of the Dog' (2021)
One of my favorites of the year by far as well as one of my favorite scores too by Jonny Greenwood! An instant and important classic Western that wasn’t full of gunshots and horse chases, but full of heart, change, and perhaps what real power actually is.
Written by Sam Gall on Dec 21, 2021
CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0
"It's a slow build, and for most of the time, I had no idea where this was all heading - which only made its shocking but well-earned ending all the more gratifying." - Shannon Keating, BuzzFeed News
"Campion handles such psychological denseness with virtuoso control, often whittling scenes to snippets of emotion and innuendo." - Ela Bittencourt, Hyperallergic
"Jane Campion's eighth feature film, her first in 12 years, The Power of the Dog reconfirms the director as a powerful force in contemporary cinema." - David Stratton, The Australian
"A quiet but exquisite film from Jane Campion, featuring superb performances from its cast. There's an unsettling mood and tension permeating every minute that lingers even days after the end credits rolls." - Ruth Maramis, FlixChatter Film Blog
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