A riveting sweep of a film, The Power of the Dog is simultaneously broad in scope, claustrophobic in content as, buoyed by superb performances, it explores masculinity in an isolated 1920s Montana cattle ranch.
Two brothers run the Burbank family ranch but it’s the charismatic but feared Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game, August: Osage County) who makes the decisions. When gentle George (Jesse Plemons – Judas & the Black Messiah, The Irishman) marries the widow Rose and the two move into the shared home, a toxic Phil’s sense of normality is threatened. The presence of Rose’s teenage son, the fey Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee – Romulus My Father, Let Me In) is particularly unsettling.
With a career-defining performance by Kirsten Dunst (The Beguiled, Marie Antoinette) as Rose, the first film in more than a decade from director Jane Campion (The Piano, Bright Star) exudes a quiet strength as it evolves determindedly in its narrative of repressed passions and emotions.
Expect Oscars aplenty to follow its many already received awards (including best director at the Venice Film Festival).
Nominated for 12 Oscars in 2022 including best film, actor, supporting actor (both Plemons and Smit-McPhee), supporting actress, adapted screenplay, won 1 for best director.