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The Power of the Dog

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, Australia, United States
·
2021

2h 7m

Director Jane Campion
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Genre Drama, Western
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In Montana, in 1925, a wealthy and domineering rancher, Phil Burbank, responds with mocking cruelty when his brother George brings home a new wife, Rose, and her son, Peter. This cruelty sets in motion a complex chain of events that will profoundly affect them all.

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Nina Gallagher Profile picture for Nina Gallagher

The Power of the Dog is a slow burn, but by no means is it boring. While each performance in the film is wonderful, Benedict Cumberbatch is particularly fantastic in his role as Phil, a looming presence that quietly terrorizes Rose and Peter. The Power of the Dog is not only a great film for those who love Jane Campion's work, but anybody who appreciates a beautifully made film.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

85

TheWrap by Carlos Aguilar

For a movie that appears to stop and start as it shifts its focus a few times too many, denying us longer introspection into its most magnetic man-to-man rapport, The Power of the Dog thrives on having actors so submerged in the fiction that they are creating a reality. Their subcutaneous labor translates what’s unsaid into fleeting but telling gestures.
100

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

The Power of the Dog sticks its teeth into you so fast and furtively that you may not feel the sting on your skin until after the credits roll, but the delayed bite of the film’s ending doesn’t stop it from leaving behind a well-earned scar.
83

The Film Stage by David Katz

The Power of the Dog has attributes that recall her past work but pleasingly seems––if not a new direction––that Campion is drawing upon a fresh skillset to best do this tale justice.
100

The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

This is an exquisitely crafted film, its unhurried rhythms continually shifting as plangent notes of melancholy, solitude, torment, jealousy and resentment surface. Campion is in full control of her material, digging deep into the turbulent inner life of each of her characters with unerring subtlety.
80

Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

If The Power Of The Dog isn’t the absolute killer coup that Campionites might have hoped, this is her most thoroughly conceived, consistently involving drama for years: taken all in all, pretty much the full visual, dramatic and, indeed sonic package.
70

Variety by Owen Gleiberman

All of this should build, slowly and inexorably, in force and emotion. But for a film that’s actually, at heart, rather tidy and old-fashioned in its triangular gamesmanship, “The Power of the Dog” needed to get to a more bruising catharsis. In its crucial last act, the film becomes too oblique.
80

Vanity Fair by Richard Lawson

While the core narrative is plenty compelling in all its creeping dread and curiosity, The Power of the Dog is not too concerned with being about any one thing. The film’s secrets are revealed while new ones bloom into being. Life tumbles after life in the ecosystem of all of us, seething amid the dust clouds we can’t help but kick up.
100

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

The film is often hard to watch, but Campion and her uniformly excellent cast leaven the discomfort with a constant sense of prickling intrigue around what precisely we are watching play out here, and how far the ritual will go.
80

The Guardian by Xan Brooks

It’s a brawny, brooding drama about the wreckage caused by men, beautifully framed in muted neutral tones as the camera circles the ranch-house with a deliberate, stealthy tread.

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