The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog

classified 12A

Please note: This was screened in Nov 2021

Jane Campion
Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons
127 mins, 2021, United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand
Primary language

To coincide with this year's Oscar® nominations, we return Jane Campion's mesmerising, psychologically rich variation on the American Western to our screens about a wealthy rancher’s war of intimidation on his brother’s new wife and her son.

Brothers George (Jesse Plemons) and Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch, brilliantly terrifying) run a hugely successful inherited ranch on the edge of a tiny Montana town in the early 1920s. Their relationship sours when George brings new wife, widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst), and her teenage son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) into this unrelentingly macho world, with Phil turning on his most arresting power to torment and bully.

Adapting from a novel by Thomas Savage, Campion grips you from the start and expertly ratchets up the tension – with Ari Wegner’s cinematography and Jonny Greenwood’s disorienting score helping to cast an ominous spell. Often playing affable eccentrics, this is a Benedict Cumberbatch unlike any we’ve seen, brilliantly terrorising every frame with silent menace. And scene by scene, our understanding of his cruel persona shifts in such surprising and fascinating ways.