The Power of The Dog - Review (London Film Festival 2021)
Honest Dirt. 3.5 / 5
Directed by Jane Campion.
Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
An atmospheric western that plays on your expectations, The Power of The Dog evokes a feeling of discomfort through isolation.
Benedict Cumberbatch leads as the antagonistic Phil Burbank who revels in causing upset in those around him, securing his authoritative status. As his brother marries Kirsten Dunst his power is threatened which begins a destructive game of emotional abuse that creates a confining atmosphere despite its vast open setting.
The New Zealand vistas act as 1920s Montana. This expansive location adds a whole new layer to the film giving Jane Campion's direction a chance to really shine.
The growing sense of unease builds through destructive mind games slowly breaking down our characters until it crescendos in an inevitable but distressing final act.
The Power of The Dog is by no means an easy watch but it's so methodical in its execution that you find yourself captivated in its wickedness.