The power of the dog – SLUG Magazine

The power of the dog
Director: Jane Campion

BBC movies and rocking movies
Released: 11.17 | Streaming on Netflix: 12.01

The western genre covers a wide range of stories. If you go in The power of the dog you expect an exciting shoot up, you are clearly not familiar with the work of Jane campion and you are about to be either very disappointed or you will be surprised and carried away.

The power of the dog is set in Montana in 1925. Severe, pale-eyed and handsome, Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch, Louis Wain’s electric life) is a restless cowboy who runs a ranch with his gentler, more refined brother, George (Jesse plemons, I think to end things). One day at the Red Mill restaurant, the brothers meet the widowed owner Rose (Kirsten dunst, Spider Man, Hidden characters, seduces him) and his impressionable son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Slow west, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). George courts and marries Rose and welcomes her and Peter to the ranch, but Phil’s controlling nature gets carried away. In his fury, he relentlessly mocks Rose, emotionally abusing her in a clever plan to destroy the relationship. His mockery of his delicate son is more overt, amplified by the cheers of Phil’s cowherd followers. Suddenly, Phil seems to take the boy under his wing. Is this last gesture a softening that leaves Phil exposed or a new twist in threat?

Part mystery, part drama and part tragedy, The power of the dog is a powerful and haunting treatise on toxic masculinity, repression, anger, and the desire for power and control. In her first film in 12 years, writer-director Campion (The piano, in the cut) expertly constructs the complex story (adapted from the novel by Thomas Sauvage). Although it is a slow combustion which requires some patience, The power of the dog is an alluring arthouse western made on an impressive scale and filled with rich characterizations. Cumberbatch would seriously risk becoming Hollywood’s most overexposed actor if he wasn’t so good at everything he does. In a year of showing phenomenal lineup, Phil Burbank arguably delivers the most impressive performance of the bunch, especially because he’s not the first name that comes to mind when you think about it. thinks “grizzled cowboy”.

Phil is both protagonist and antagonist in a story that is told in a deliberately detached fashion for audiences to keep guessing and analyzing. Cumberbatch does not have the easy task of hiding the real Phil from us while giving us sharp insights into his psyche. Dunst is also excellent and Plemons does a great job, although unfortunately it is underutilized. Perhaps the most interesting performance comes from Smit-McPhee as the calm, gangly, and somewhat effeminate Peter, the subject of so much mockery and derision from Phil and the ranch workers. Smit-McPhee is the kind of low-key actor who is so devoid of pretension and melodrama in his performances that he is often easily overlooked. Without him this movie simply wouldn’t have seen the light of day and I hope it won’t be forgotten when the Oscar nominations come out. Ari wegnerthe cinematography of is sublime, and the taut musical score of Radiohead‘s Jonny greenwood does an amazing job creating weight and tension in the slowest of times.

The power of the dog takes a while to digest, but it’s still stuck in my head almost a week later. It’s the kind of unforgettable, thought-provoking story we only see unfolding on this mini-epic scale – and with big stars attached – because Netflix is ​​so keen to woo writers, and it’s a movie. which will be remembered as one of the most important in the impressive filmographies of Cumberbatch and Campion. –Patrick gibbs

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