The Power of the Dog is a beautifully crafted film, full of intensity and underlying anger set in 1920s Montana. Jane Campion crafts a western film that's all about power dynamics, masculinity and toxic environments. It's also at times an unnerving film.
The Power of the Dog perfectly studies what happens when a woman enters a family, and how the one in control of that family now perceives her as a threat and works to remove her by being as brutal as he can, just to gain back control. It moves wonderfully and full of suspense, Jane has layered the film masterfully, that when you peel away the layers you find hatred, power plays and maybe some hidden desire because I found some very intense sexual or maybe psycho-sexual tension at play here.
It's very nuanced, just by how the characters are, these are people who rarely say a lot with their words but they still say so much with their expressions and body language, the environment and the way in which its shot helps too. The characters are complex, and the way Ari Wegner's cinematography stays on their faces, it reveals a lot. Their faces say what they keep hidden or refuse to say, and aided by the enthralling score by Jonny Greenwood, The Power of the Dog packs a punch that will leave you anxious wanting to dig deeper into the film.
Benedict Cumberbatch's performance is fantastic (I smell an Oscar) as this ruthless rancher who is trying to place his dominance over everyone in his household... is frightening but Jane is able to give this being so much depth and subtlety which he requires, Benedict's performance is perfectly matched and balanced by Kirsten Dunst' who is just wonderful to watch, and she demand us to feel her.
Overall The Power of the Dog is a stunning film about changing power dynamics and its brutal yet engaging, aided by the great of work of its cast, cinematography, direction and score.