The Power of the Dogs is a drama, western and romance film made in 2021 by director Jane Campion. It has a running time of 2 hours and 6 minutes, and the plot is mainly stretched, slow and eerie, with long shots and mesmerizing mountain scenery.
From its release, the film made a boom and received numerous nominations and awards. Even though some viewers felt that the plot was too stretched out at times, the ending is well worth it and makes the film one of the most anticipated and praised, a movie that people like to rewatch times and times again.
“The Power of the Dog” is a movie primarily based on a novel by Thomas Savage, released in 1967. Another part of the movie is presumably based on the short story by Annie Proulx called “Brokeback Mountain,” which too was an inspiration for the 2005 movie of the same name. The director, Jane Campion, combines these two stories and creates a unique film with an ever-lasting theme of ego, societal norms, and sexuality.
The story follows two bachelor brothers, Phil and George, living in rural Montana and owning a ranch and cattle herd. Their monotonous yet somewhat working relationship is interrupted when George marries the widow Rose, and she and her son Peter move to the ranch.
The scenery is broad, with wide landscape shots portraying Montana, even though the visuals were mainly shot in New Zealand.
As the plot develops, Phil torments, mentally abuses, and mocks both Rose and Rose’s son Peter. Surprisingly, the story takes a twisting turn when Phil takes Peter under his wing, with seemingly no other reason than a sinister one.
The Crew and Cast
“The power of the Dog” was directed by Jane Campion, and this was her first movie after a decade. This fact underlines her determination to pour Savages’ book into a visual experience.
The movie score was written by Jonny Greenwood, the guitarist of the band Radiohead. He received numerous praises for his ability to successfully portray and intensify the western cowboy atmosphere, tension, and landscape with musical notes.
The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil, while his brother George is portrayed by Jesse Plemons. Rose’s character is played by Kristen Dunst. Kodi Smit-McPhee stars as the awkward, unsettling, yet handy Peter.
From its release in 2021, “The Power of the Dog” received numerous standing ovations and fascinated fans. Many top-ten film lists put the movie on its top, and the actors, the director, and the movie received multiple award nominations.
The film was presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2021.
At the 94th Academy Awards, “The Power of the Dog” received 12 nominations, including the ones for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (for Plemons), Best Supporting Actress (for Dunst), and Best Actor (for Cumberbatch.)
The American Film Institute also named the movie one of the best films in 2021. Later, “The Power of the Dog” received another 7 nomnations at the 79th Golden Globe Awards. At the ceremony, the movie received the Best Motion Picture – Drama, Camion received the Best Director Golden Globe, and Smit-McPhee (Peter) received the Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Golden Globe.
At the 27th Critics’ Choice awards, “The Power of the Dog” received 10 nominations and won 4.
In the 2022 BAFTA Film Awards (British Academy film awards), the film received 8 awards in different categories, including one for Best Film and Best Direction.
Critics and viewers alike rate “The Power of the Dog” as one of the best movies released in 2021. Even though some reviewers can’t sit still through the slow, often “dull” narrative, the movie is a masterpiece for western and psychological drama fans.
As always, it seems that only watching “The Power of the Dog” can help you decide whether you love or hate the movie. Furthermore, it shows why people are mesmerized by the dream team behind the characters and the plot. In the end, this is a thought-provoking film with a hanging ending, making you want to think and overthink it.