The Power of the Dog was released on Netflix last month and has received mixed reviews, most of them praising the slow burn of the movie, the pacing, Ari Wegner’s breath-taking cinematography, and the characters portrayed perfectly by the cast. Directed by Jane Campion and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog is a Western drama based on a novel by Thomas Savage. Set in Montana but filmed in New Zealand, this movie is a story about repression, toxic masculinity, and homophobia. It is dark and interspersed with tension, secrets, and rage. A quiet and slow story that builds up gradually to a tragic end.
Two brothers, successful ranchers in Montana in the 1920s, one of which is gentle and quiet, but is looked down on and bullied by the other brother. The quiet brother, George, played by Jesse Plemons, marries a widow, Rose, played by Kirsten Dunst, and brings her and her son back to the ranch to live with him and his brother Phil, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Rose’s son Peter, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a quiet, sensitive boy, and Phil takes no time in focusing his anger and spite on him. This is not a movie for someone who wants action or easy viewing, this film encourages the watcher to make up their own mind. It requires patience and quite a lot of focus and thought, so make sure you’re in the right frame of mind before you watch it.