The Power of the Dog

What it means to be a man.

Drama Western
127 min     6.8     2021     Australia


A domineering but charismatic rancher wages a war of intimidation on his brother's new wife and her teen son, until long-hidden secrets come to light.


MSB wrote:
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ "The Power of the Dog is a thought-provoking, deep study of (toxic) masculinity surrounded by exceptional performances and truly stunning cinematography (Ari Wegner). Jane Campion breaks her decade-long directing hiatus, returning with an unconventional take on the western genre packed with heavy, rich themes, all developed through emotionally powerful, extraordinary character arcs. Despite the occasionally dull pacing and underwhelming ending, the layered narrative holds numerous interesting topics that Benedict Cumberbatch and co. Approach in incredibly tense interactions through the lingering camera, minimal editing (Peter Sciberras), and contemplative music (Jonny Greenwood). The aimless first half might only be a first-watch issue, but nothing that profoundly hurts the overall piece. An awards contender that I definitely recommend watching, even more than once." Rating: B+
badelf wrote:
Jane Campion's direction is top-notch, beautifully shot by Ari Wegner, and Johnny Greenwood's score fits like a soft leather glove. But that script - oh so Hollywood and oh so boring!! I want my 127 minutes back. wrote:
**Full Explanation and Analysis at - The Story** - The Power of the Dog, a book written by Thomas Savage in 1967, inspires the film. It’s not your typical western. No guns are involved, but something more complex and psychological. Located in Montana in 1925, two wealthy and different brothers, George and Phil, own a ranch.Their lives change when they meet Rose, a widow, mum to Peter, a delicate but intelligent guy. Different personalities and interests generate a hostile environment for all of our characters. After the chaos, the dreamed balance may rise again, but, first, the story will become intense, engaging and exhausting.What will happen between them? Why George and Phil are different? And what is The Power of the Dog? It’s a complex film, full of symbolism, metaphors and psychology. It’s well-directed, excellently performed by the whole cast. And it’s not a case that, as we mentioned above, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst are in nominations as best actors at the Golden Globe 2022. - **Analysis **here
Adriano wrote:
The ending does not match the pacing of the the entire film at all. It's almost abrupt - and not in a terribly satisfying way. It could have been 30 minutes shorter if it did less artful shots of wheat or a horse standing. Or at least for less time. It doesn't even really say anything interesting about it either.
CinemaSerf wrote:
Brothers "Phil" (Benedict Cumberbatch) and "George" (Jesse Plemons) are the bit chalk-and-cheese brothers who own a successful cattle ranch. On a trip to town, "Phil" upsets the owner of the hotel "Rose" (an effective Kirstin Dunst) after he rather cruelly insults her extremely svelte teenage son "Peter" (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who had taken some care to prepare intricate paper decorations for their dining table. We don't know how long "George" and "Rose" have been friends, but next thing we know they are married and the pretty unpleasant "Phil" sets out to make her life as miserable as possible. He is never overtly cruel - there is no violence, but mental abuse that sends her seeking solace in the bottle. When her son joins them from school, he fixes him fairly and squarely in his sights too - introducing a hint of homo-eroticism and scheming to the last fifteen minutes that makes you sit up. Again, no action as such - there are no gunfights or fisticuffs, just a cleverly structured denouement that I felt fitting. The pace is really slow, the dialogue pretty laconic, Cumberbatch's accent is all over the place and the score becomes wearisome after a while - the sounds of the constant high pitched violins really did begin to grate. It is a lovely film to look at, plenty of attention to the detail, but it is altogether just a bit so what.