The Power Of The Dog
What a soul satisfying weekend it has been. Firstly with barely any new releases there was absolutely no pressure to put the reviews out quickly. Secondly, I got an extended run in watching films that I had in my watchlist for a while now. The lack of new releases has helped me wipe a few films from my list. And thirdly, I got to explore some of the most fascinating films from world cinema. So if you would like us to review more of International films then please drop us a word over email or social media, it helps us to plan. And with that I finished watching the English film from last month(and last year) which has been lying in my watchlist for quite some time now. The Power Of The Dog had a limited release before going to Netflix and now that I have watched it, here are my two cents on it.
Story & Screenplay
Based on a novel by Thomas Savage, The Power Of The Dog follows the story of a rancher who tends to be mockingly cruel to his brother’s wife and child until a twisty equation that follows. The story is Western and a slow burner that touches upon a few concepts of Masculinity and Homosexuality coupled with some emotions of bitterness and revenge. The story is really nuanced and layered. The screenplay compliments it very well. This is a bit of a niche as the leisurely pace ensures that almost nothing happens in the initial few minutes. But the conversations and events that unfold are of utmost importance and requires undivided attention. The smallest of events contribute largely to the story especially towards the back end. The few concepts of masculinity and homosexuality maybe could have been explored a bit more but it still doesn’t take away from this wonderfully woven screenplay that takes an unexpectedly dark turn towards the dying minutes. The setup for the final act might seem simple but if you look back and understand the events following upto it then you would really adore it. The end is again open to interpretation yet it is an extremely satisfying end for cinephiles like me. Overall, a brilliantly penned slowburner, so well nuanced and textured that it falls in the category of being deliciously dark and twisted!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational and they really manage to hold your attention throughout. The music is beautiful, probably the best soundtracks of last year 2021. The BGM is subtle and creates that unassuming atmosphere of intrigue. The cinematography is outstanding here. Director Jane Campion is in total control throughout the runtime of the film. She manages to create frames of intrigue, valour, bitterness and revenge that do linger on for a long time. The direction is top notch here!
The performances are brilliant headed by a terrific Benedict Cumberbatch. Jesse Blemons as George is quietly restrained and quite a likable character, a job done pretty well. Kirsten Dunst as Rose in a very complicated character is fabulous to watch and she really manages to hold your attention. Kodi Smit-Mcphee as Peter is absolutely mind blowing in a career defining role which is conflicted, twisted and sinister. Each and every beat of the character is so well caught on and beautifully captured in the most nuanced manner. And the masterclass comes from <span;>Benedict Cumberbatch who is brilliant as Phil. The range and the class of the man is at another level. The ease with which he has been pulling off his roles is truly fodder for the soul. Capturing a complex character as Phil wasn’t easy and the character arc shown added to the complexity. And he just is so effortless and comes out on top in style!
The Power Of The Dog is a twisted slow burner backed by some powerful performances. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.