The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog

It’s been twelve years since the last feature film by legendary director Jane Campion (The Piano, Sweetie, An Angel at My Table, Bright Star and TV’s Top of the Lake). She returns with a poison-tipped dagger of a Western drama wrapped in rawhide and old rope; a brilliant, murderous fable about masculine strength that’s so diamond-toothed its victims are already half dead by the time they see the first drop of their own blood.

Based on the novel by Thomas Savage, The Power Of The Dog is about domineering rancher responds with mocking cruelty when his brother brings home a new wife and her son, until the unexpected comes to pass.

The year is 1925. The Burbank brothers (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemmons) are wealthy ranchers in Montana. At the Red Mill restaurant on their way to market, the brothers meet Rose (Kirsten Dunst), the widowed proprietress, and her impressionable son Peter (Kodi Scott-McPhee). Phil behaves so cruelly he drives them both to tears, reveling in their hurt and rousing his fellow cowhands to laughter – all except his brother George, who comforts Rose then returns to marry her.

As Phil swings between fury and cunning, his taunting of Rose takes an eerie form – he hovers at the edges of her vision, whistling a tune she can no longer play. His mockery of her son is more overt, amplified by the cheering of Phil’s cowhand disciples. Then Phil appears to take the boy under his wing. Is this latest gesture a softening that leaves Phil exposed, or a plot twisting further into menace?

WINNER of BEST DIRECTOR at the recent VENICE FILM FESTIVAL.

Rating: M
Runtime: 127 mins

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