The Power of the Dog

a film by Jane Campion. Starts December 16th at the fsk. In English with German subtitles.

[Credits] [Tickets & Termine] [Trailer]

Set in Montana in the 1920s, Jane Campion’s hot­ly anti­ci­pa­ted new film is an ent­hral­ling revi­sio­nist wes­tern awa­sh in sub­li­me expan­ses and nuan­ce, cap­tu­ring a land­s­cape and a peop­le dri­ven by the fan­ta­sy and fol­ly of wes­tern expan­si­on. Adapted from Thomas Savage’s cult novel of the same name, The Power of the Dog tells the sto­ry of suc­cess­ful ran­cher bro­thers George (Jesse Plemons) and Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) Burbank, who­se rela­ti­ons­hip sours when the more mild-man­ne­red George mar­ries local widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst).

Rose and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) arri­ve at the Burbank ranch — see­min­gly who­le­so­me and naï­ve — and attempt to fit into the family’s com­plex dyna­mic of new money, but are con­ti­nu­al­ly sty­mied by an unspo­ken bro­ther­ly bond. Phil’s past as a clas­sics scho­l­ar at Yale is bare­ly dis­cer­ni­ble as he sports a tough and dir­ty exte­rior, while fre­quent­ly refer­ring to the anti­cs of his men­tor Bronco Bill. Cumberbatch shi­nes in this fero­cious per­for­mance as a cow­boy to the core, who­se hurtful, macho quips toward Peter and his mother hint at a sim­me­ring menace and a capa­ci­ty for erra­tic cru­el­ty and vio­lence; a kind of camou­fla­ge that only ser­ves to repress deep-sea­ted trau­ma and latent desire.

Proving once again that she is one of today’s grea­test filmma­kers, Campion deli­vers a fasci­na­ting stu­dy of mas­cu­lini­ty and inter­nal torment, sub­ver­ting the codes of the wes­tern — and of the male gaze — in a uni­ver­se that is always shif­ting in tone, ren­de­red with stun­ning cine­ma­to­gra­phy by Ari Wegner, a dis­ori­en­ting score by Jonny Greenwood, and a ter­ri­fic ensem­ble cast.

Credits:

NZ/AU 2021, 126 Min, engl. OmU
Regie: Jane Campion
Kamera: Ari Wegner
Schnitt: Peter Scibberas
mit: Benedict Cumberbatch
Jesse Plemons
Kirsten Dunst
Kodi Smit-McPhee


Trailer:
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