Jane Campion‘s first movie since 2003’s somber New York murder mystery “In the Cut” is an equally brooding study on foreboding portent, although one set in Lower East Side Manhattan rather than a Montana cattle ranch. The Academy Award winner New Zealand filmmaker (“The Piano“) creates an icy, barbed Western starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemmons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee concerning love, suppression, and, well, authority, as the title suggests. Jonny Greenwood’s calming (and extremely unsettling) string-and-guitar music helps to move matters forward.
Plot and Storyline
“The Power of the Dog,” Campion’s first film featuring a male lead, deals with the complex issues of manhood and pride. Phil Burbank is a cruelly attractive man, severe and pale-eyed. Phil’s romanticism, strength, and vulnerability are all bound up in the past as well as in the land: he can decapitate a bull calf with just two rapid strokes of his knife; he swims nude in the river, coating his face with dirt. He’s a cowboy as untainted as his skin.
It’s the year 1925. The Burbank brothers were affluent Montana ranchers. On their way to market, the brothers encounter Rose, the widowed lady of the house, and her impressionable son Peter at the Red Mill restaurant. Phil is so vicious that he brings them both to tears, relishing in their anguish and raising his other cowhands to giggle – all apart from his brother George, who consoles Rose before returning to marry her.
Phil’s mocking of Rose assumes an unsettling shape as he swings between rage and cunning — he lurks at the boundaries of her sight, whistling a song she could no longer perform. His ridicule of her son becomes increasingly overt, aided by the applause of Phil’s cowhand devotees. Then Phil comes and takes the youngster under his care.
This movie is modeled on Thomas Savage’s terrifying 1967 novel, which is respected in world literature and praised as a forgotten masterpiece by the likes of Annie Proulx (“Brokeback Mountain”). The story had already been circulating in Hollywood for years, with even Paul Newman toying with the notion of playing troubled rancher Phil Burbank at some time.
The Power of the Dog: Release date
Thomasin McKenzie, Frances Conroy, Keith Carradine, Peter Carroll, and Adam Beach also round out the cast. The picture will be released in cinemas on November 17th, followed by a December 1st premiere on Netflix.
In the very first complete trailer for Jane Campion’s Netflix Western “The Power of the Dog,” Benedict Cumberbatch displays his vicious side by being unnecessarily rude to a youngster portrayed by Kodi Smit-McPhee.
The cast of the movie
A photo of each of the major characters has been revealed, with Benedict, 45, appearing raw and tough as cowboy Phil Burbank as he stands against a west US backdrop. The actor is dressed in a grey denim shirt with shackles that stretch up and over his shoulders. He’s seen sporting a hat and has an unruly beard with dirt smeared on his face.
Kirsten, 39, who portrays Rose Gordon, may be seen in her poster donning a pink shirt with a flowery design and looking to the side. In the photo, she is wearing her blonde hair in a wavy bob as she poses in a room of the house with a window in the backdrop.
Jesse, 33, who plays George Burbank, is seen sporting a cowboy hat and donning a black jacket. He was sporting a brown bow tie with a candy-striped shirt beneath his jacket.
As per Entertainment Weekly, reviewers anticipate a strong awards season push for the picture. Cumberbatch’s performances have already won him the TIFF Tribute Actor award at the upcoming 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.