In the months of September, the cards for the best film productions of the year begin to be played. The thermometer is marked by the festivals that are celebrated around the world, some being more relevant than others. The presentation of The power of the dog, the new production of Jane Campion for Netflix, managed to conquer the critics and the small public that attends these events.
With 100% positive reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, The Power of the Dog (such as its title in Spanish) will arrive on Netflix on December 1, prior to its premiere in small theaters in November, and It also means the return of New Zealand director Jane Campion to the cinema after more than ten years of being away from the industry.
The film comes from winning important prizes in the different festivals so far (in Toronto, New York, and the Silver Lion in Venice, for Jane Campion).
The film could be part of a western because of its location and characters and is based on the novel by Thomas Savage. It focuses on the personal drama of two brothers, Phil and George Burbank, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons, respectively, in 1920s Montana.
They both own a large ranch where many cowboys work who are subjected to the mistreatment and opulence of Phil, who is always manipulative and arrogant. As if it were the other side of the coin is George, who is kind in treatment, condescending, and who grew up under the abusive power of his brother. From their clothing and their physical appearance, the two brothers are opposed.
On their way to a market, the brothers stop at a restaurant and meet their owner, a widowed woman, Rose (Kirsten Dunst), mother of Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Phil is totally ruthless in dealing with Rose and her son, while George is delighted and ends up marrying the woman. It should be noted that Dunst and Plemons are a couple in real life and they met during the recording of the Fargo series.
It will be from this union that Phil will enter a state of unbearable fury and anger, and through ironies and arrogant attitudes, he will mistreat both Rose and young Peter, as a kind of alpha male. The psychological abuse does not take long to appear and Rose will enter a great depression that will lead her to take refuge in drinking.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s work was featured at nearly every festival where this film was shown and received standing ovations, for example at the event held in Venice, and also as best actor of the year at the Toronto Film Festival. His name is ringing loud for the upcoming Oscar nominations and chances are high that he will take home his first statuette.
“It is a sublime novel that deserves a life on the big screen. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story; it really haunted me. The themes of masculinity, violence, and betrayal are an intoxicating mix,” said Jane Campion for the publication Cineeuropa. “It will be my first time working for a male lead, which is exciting.”
The Power of the Dog will be released previously in Australia and New Zealand in November and surely in some theaters in the United States. It will only be available on Netflix starting December 1.
The cast is completed by Thomasin McKenzie, Frances Conroy, Keith Carradine (emblem of the revisionist westerns of the 70s who has small participation in this film), Peter Carroll, and Adam Beach.