Following the debut of The Power of the Dog on its streaming platform on Wednesday (December 1st), Netflix released a new trailer for the western film.
“He’s just a man. Only another man,” Netflix declared. The streaming video platform also stated that The Power of the Dog is Jane Campion’s “potent” exploration of Western power dynamics and masculinity.
As previously reported, The Power of the Dog follows Benedict Cumberbatch’s charismatic rancher, Phil Burbank, who inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother George (Jesse Plemons) brings home his new wife Rose (Kirstin Dunst) with her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kenneth Radley, and Sean Keenan also star in The Power of the Dog. The film first premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in September. The film’s director, Campion, actually won the Silver Lion for Best Directing. It was then released in Australia and New Zealand on November 11th. And later in the U.S. and UK on November 17th.
What Are Critics Saying About ‘The Power of the Dog’
Following the premiere of The Power of the Dog on Netflix, Roger Ebert’s Monica Castillo offered up a review of the western film. She described Cumberbatch as perhaps not the first actor that springs to mind when thinking of casting a western. But in the film, he’s just what was needed.
“Covered head-to-toe in the dirt for most of the film. He embodies a character in a masculine crisis,” the reviewer stated about Cumberbatch’s The Power of the Dog character. “He has a constant need to provide he’s the roughest, toughest leader in a wolf pack of cowboys.”
Castillo also shared that Cumberbatch’s character dominates the pecking order of any room he’s in through cruel remarks and irreverence towards authority. “His eyes are cold as mountain air; his face is a stone facade against the world and his tongue is as sharp as a snake fang. Gone are the quick and endearing characters that Cumberbatch has played in the past.”
The reviewer then noted that Cumberbatch is perhaps more fearsome than his villains in The Hobbit and Star Trek Into Darkness. “He moves through the move like an unsheathed knife. Cutting anyone unlucky enough to get close.”
Meanwhile, it was noted at Cumberbatch’s The Power of the Dog character’s brother, George, is actually the opposite. “Where Phil is calloused and mean, George is gentler and more soft-spoken.”
She also described George as often being at the mercy of his brother’s teasing. In the end, The Power of the Dog “revels” in a suspenseful much like Cumberbatch’s character. “Though the movie starts at a gentle pace, it doesn’t stay there long. There is so much layered desire, hatred, and domination that soon comes rolling out to disturb everyone’s uneasy peace.”