The Power of the Dog = a Big Meh
I don’t get why “the Power of Dog” has gotten so much critical buzz, awards, and Oscar nominations. I found it long, tedious, boring, too much talking, not enough action, and wondered why anyone would consider this movie to be a masterpiece. To me, it was just “Meh”.
There were a few interesting aspects to the movie, but not explored enough in my opinion. There was a brokeback mountain bromance in the movie between Phil and his nephew, Peter, who was depicted as a socially inept, sensitive, effeminate young man. But this was just hinted at and never fully developed.
The main character Phil to me was a bit flat and undeveloped as well. He had gone to Yale majoring in classics, and gone back to help manage the family ranch. He is an intelligent man, but does not live up to his potential. Rose, Phil’s sister in law is also never fleshed out as a character. She is depicted as an alcoholic wreck – a widow whose husband had died after committing suicide. She is a sad broken woman but never really drown out either.
There is a lack of action throughout the movie which just seems meandering touching on my theme and another before petering out with Phil’s mysterious death from anthrax.
The movie hints that Peter had given Phil tainted raw hides and Phil caught anthrax while working on the hide without wearing gloves. The movie would have been much more powerful if that had been further developed and Peter had intended to kill Phil.
But this was just another plot point hinted at and dropped.
The cinematography was good, the music was soaring. Overall, though, the movie just did not work for me. I’d give it a C and certainly, it does not deserve an Oscar nomination.
The Power of the Dog is a 2021 Western psychological drama film written and directed by Jane Campion. It is based on Thomas Savage‘s 1967 novel of the same name. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Shot mostly across rural Otago, New Zealand, the film is an international co-production between New Zealand, Greece, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. The Power of the Dog covers themes such as love, grief, resentment, jealousy, and sexuality.
The Power of the Dog had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2021, where Campion won the Silver Lion for Best Direction. The film had a limited theatrical release in November 2021, and was released to stream worldwide on Netflix on December 1, 2021. The Power of the Dog received universal acclaim from critics, who praised Campion’s direction and screenplay, cinematography, score, and performances of the four leads. It was highly regarded as one of the best films of 2021 by multiple top-ten lists.
It has received many accolades including a leading 12 nominations at the 94th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and was named one of the best films of 2021 by the American Film Institute. It also received seven nominations at the 79th Golden Globe Awards, winning Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Smit-McPhee and Best Director for Campion, and 10 nominations at the 27th Critics’ Choice Awards, including Best Picture.