It took a while for me to get invested in The Power of the Dog, it’s a slow burner and may not be to everyone’s tastes. If you’re expecting a shoot-’em-up kind of western then you may be disappointed.

A charismatic rancher Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) is feared and awed by those around him. His brother, George (Jesse Plemons) brings home a new wife Rose (Kirsten Dunst) and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Upset by their arrival, Phil torments them at every opportunity until he finds himself unexpectedly exposed to the possibility of love.

Regardless of your preconceptions The Power of the Dog was not the film I thought it would be. You’re not sure what to expect when it introduces the characters and gradually develops them to a point where you become totally invested in what happens next. That’s really how I felt watching this, the more I watched it the more I liked it and by the end I absolutely loved it. It tackles many different themes at once such as grief, loss and toxic masculinity which honestly was the last thing I was expecting from a western. It creatively blends a few genres together and is more on the psychological drama side with a truly haunting finale. It’s a strongly character driven story and the entire cast are absolutely brilliant, particularly Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee. I’d expect some awards buzz around The Power of the Dog.

Director Jane Campion really has created a stunningly picturesque masterclass in filmmaking. I love a good western and honestly it seems to be a neglected genre nowadays. I haven’t seen one this good since Hostiles, more westerns please. Film fans if you haven’t already taken the time to see The Power of the Dog be sure to check it out. Highly recommended.



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