Jane Campion, the director behind Netflix’s Sublimely Good New Original Movie The power of the dog, is one of the most admired and critically acclaimed filmmakers of the modern era.
One of seven women nominated for the Oscar for Best Director, she was also the first female director to win the coveted Palme d’Or for Best Picture at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival (for The piano). Reading the 1967 novel The power of the dog by Thomas Savage – set on a ranch in 1920s Montana – convinced her that an adaptation of this story was to be produced for the big screen. Indeed, she said the story “haunted” her for years. “It’s not just a 1925 cowboy story about life on a ranch,” she says in Netflix press material for the film. “It’s a lived experience. And I think because of that, I felt a real confidence in the story. I loved how much it explores masculinity and the fact that it’s also about hidden love.
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Now streaming on Netflix – The power of the dog
In the film, Benedict Cumberbatch plays a constantly brooding and angry but charismatic rancher named Phil Burbank. The ranch workers around him are both awed and terrified of him. One day, Burbank’s brother George (played by Jesse Plemons) brings home a new wife, who already has a young son. Phil Burbank torments the fragile-looking boy, mercilessly. Over time, however, that… changes.
“As he tormented me to take me under his wing one way, you could feel something growing,” said Kodi Smit McPhee, who plays this young man (Peter), in an interview with Netflix Queue – the streamer’s internal post. “For me, in times like these, you don’t know whether to run away or stay there – whether it’s hot or if it’s cold, or scary or nice. There is a huge cloud of mystery following you through this film. It’s a slow burn, but somehow at the same time Jane has reached (a sense of) impending doom. “
The title of the film, by the way, comes from the Bible. Specifically, from Psalm 22:20: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling of the power of the dog.
Reaction, and this ending
Needless to say, it’s currently the # 1 movie in the US on Netflix right now. The power of the dog also currently enjoys a near-perfect critical score on Rotten tomatoes (95%). That’s based on 221 reviews at the time of writing. Like this one of United States today review, who raves about the film exploring the male ego and heads for an interesting conclusion that’s a lot more subtle than you might think.
I’m not going to spoil this ending here. But not only you might not see it coming. Its power is in the nuance – in the kind of detail that flashes and you might miss it that reveals a terrible ending for one of the film’s main characters.
Atmospheric, brutal and beautiful, the film takes your breath away with both its incredible cinematography and its barely tolerable tension. He insists on staying with you long after the credits are up.
To see the original version of this article on BGR.com