“The Power of the Dog” is a historical drama movie watched online by Netflix.
“The Power of the Dog” is directed by Jane Campion and starring actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
The story tells the story of the brothers Phil and George operating a ranch in the dusty Western Wilderness. They met Rose and her son Peter, the widow who ran an inn, during a cattle-grazing journey.
George and Rose are attracted to each other and they enter into marriage. Although Phil is very dissatisfied with his brother-in-law, he gets closer and closer to Peter and reveals the secrets he has hidden for many years.
Complicated human nature between the mountains and the wild
As the first female director in film history to win the Cannes Palme d’Or and the second to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Director, Jane Campion’s work has always been rich in content.
Her works are always well received by movie fans because they can deeply describe political or gender issues from a unique perspective.
Therefore, this time Jane Campion released the new work “The Power of the Dog” after a lapse of twelve years, and found “Doctor Strange” starring Benedict Cumberbatch to win the 2021 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion Award in one fell swoop.
The audience is curious about how “The Power of the Dog” will perform in the end.
The background of the “The Power of the Dog” story
Adapted from the novel of the same name written by Thomas Savage in 1967, “The Power of the Dog” sets the background in Montana in the northwestern United States in the 1920s.
Since ancient times, there has been a sparsely populated remote area where the economy is dominated by agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry.
The story of “Those Who Wish Me Dead” starring Angelina Jolie also takes place here, but in the western mountains of the entire state.
And “The Power of the Dog” is located in the eastern half of the Great Plains. Different terrain also makes the scenes of the two movies very different.
The protagonist of the “The Power of the Dog” story is a pair of brothers who take over their parents’ farm and raise cattle on this desolate grassland.
The brother Phil, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a hardcore cowboy. He leads a group of people who respect him to manage the farm vigorously.
The younger brother George, played by Jesse Plemons, is a gentle and elegant scholar. Although not as wild and masculine as Phil, he is responsible for keeping accounts and negotiating business.
After 20 years of cooperation between the two, they have also successfully built a livestock kingdom with a lot of power in the local area.
“The Power of the Dog” character encounter
One time during the migration process with cattle grazing, the protagonist and the brothers came to a hotel in the village along the way to rest. They met the widow Rose and her son Peter who were running alone.
Behind his extraordinary work ability, Phil is a sexist chauvinist.
Not only did he speak rudely to other guests in the hotel, but faced Peter, who was relatively feminine in character and appearance, Phil also mocked him harshly with his men.
This made Rose feel very sad when he heard the whole process in the kitchen but was unable to protect his son.
However, his younger brother George is very different from his elder brother. He is well-educated and has a gentlemanly demeanor.
After Phil and others left the restaurant, George came to the kitchen alone to comfort the sad Rose, and even later helped her who was only one person too busy to deliver meals.
And such a caring move made the relationship between the two quickly become close, and it didn’t take long for them to decide to get married.
It’s just that George’s sudden decision made Phil, as his older brother, feel quite dissatisfied.
Is the “The Power of the Dog” review good?
What’s interesting about the movie “The Power of the Dog” lies in the director’s depiction of the characters in the film and the interaction between them.
For more than 20 years, Phil and George have worked together, and after a lot of hard work, they have achieved what they are today.
Phil, as a tough and more capable brother, always hopes that George, a white and tender younger brother, can stand out “with his own help” and become a person who can follow him freely on this western prairie. Benz cowboy.
But what have they become now?
George married a widow as his wife without notifying him in advance, which disrupted Phil’s original plan for the future.
So not long after Rose married, Phil was challenged with his own majesty and leadership qualities, and immediately showed her his “misogynistic” side.
Whether it was his direct rejection or humiliation, it made Rose feel a very strong and suffocating pressure.
“The Power of the Dog” Characters’ Conflict and Collision
“The Power of the Dog” is very interesting in describing the process of Rose’s mental state on the verge of collapse.
Although George helped Rose buy a high-end piano to keep at home, I hope she will take the opportunity to practice more. In this way, Rose can play for guests when they come to have a meal at home in the future.
But Rose is not only not superb piano skill, but also is often taunted by Phil using his turtledove.
In the end, she couldn’t even practice the introductory version of “Radetzky March”, and she made a fool of herself at the dinner where George invited the governor and his parents to come home to celebrate their marriage.
Some time later, Rose’s son Peter returned home from medical school for the summer vacation.
Director Jane Campion brought the first plot twist to the entire movie “The Power of the Dog” under her control of roles and rhythm.
“The Power of the Dog” director’s design control
There is no doubt that “The Power of the Dog” is a very fascinating movie that can easily immerse the audience in it.
Director Jane Campion placed the plains and mountains of the northwestern United States in a frame.
In the cold tones of the whole film, she uses the surface of this land to seem desolate and quiet, but also masculine and magnificent and full of wild atmosphere, which perfectly reflects the complex chaos of the characters in this family, and their opposition to each other. The state of turbulent undercurrents.
Although many people watch the first half of “The Power of the Dog”, they will feel that the emotional changes between George and Rose are a little jumpy and broken, and they can’t feel the spark of interaction between them.
But in the case that they are not the main axis of the movie, director Jane Campion chose to sacrifice their supporting role as a plotting tool.
She put the length of the story to bring a critical turning point in the film. These “right places”, and also allow the audience to experience their relationship and relationship with each other through the mood of the main characters in the film “The Power of the Dog”. Emotional flow.
The story turning of “The Power of the Dog”
Peter’s arrival worries Rose, who has been suffering from Phil’s cold violence during this period.
Since Peter was bullied and ridiculed by Phil before, Rose feared that his son would be further bullied by Phil.
However, the development of the “The Power of the Dog” story has subverted our imagination.
Although Phil was still very hostile to Peter at first, after a few contacts, he gradually changed his attitude towards this boy who was very inconsistent with what he wanted a man to look like.
And what is the reason behind this?
Maybe it’s because Phil wants to make his mother Rose more isolated and helpless by wooing Peter, or it may be other complicated factors behind it.
But anyway, director Jane Campion focused the story on Phil and Peter in the second half of “The Power of the Dog”.
Jane Campion uses the interaction between the two to make a more in-depth description of the character’s personality and psychological level.
She also brought a shocking ending to the audience after “The Power of the Dog” finally revealed their ulterior secrets.
The core theme of the plot of “The Power of the Dog”
Since the movie’s hot spot lies in the secrets that the characters have hidden for a long time, it also means that the success of “The Power of the Dog” depends largely on the acting performance of the actors.
And Benedict Cumberbatch certainly did not let us down, he fully demonstrated his excellent acting ability.
He changed from the British gentleman in the audience’s impression to Phil, the western cowboy. It also showed us behind his rough and masculine temperament in the latter part of “The Power of the Dog”, the gentleness revealed to the people he trusts. The delicate side.
In the film, we can see Phil’s adoration and obsession with the “Mustang Henry”, perhaps this is his toughness and fragility.
In the end, the director used the two images of “Western Cowboy” and “Homosexuality” to be quite conflicting together to shape the role of Phil.
After “The Power of the Dog” has been laid out for so long, the whole movie is actually a critique of the traditional value of “masculinity” for all men in a patriarchal society.
“The Power of the Dog” character hidden secrets
Can you imagine Phil, a tough and sexist cowboy, turned out to be gay?
By going deep into his inner world, the audience seems to be able to feel the pain he has suffered in the past.
Therefore, in order to conceal the fragile secrets of his heart, Phil finally chose to become harsh and mean. Instead of being a victim, he might as well become a perpetrator.
Phil built a wall and tried his best to maintain the authority and the world he built over the years.
It’s just that when Peter, a teenager, appeared in front of him, Phil also gradually let go of his guard because he saw the self in the past.
On the one hand, Phil hopes to get close to him, on the other hand, he also hopes to use the experience and strength he has to make Peter less wronged.
Phil tried to help Peter survive in this masculine western society, he found an outlet and salvation for his depression.
However, what Phil didn’t know was that Peter, who looked weak on the surface, actually hid secrets just like him.
Reversal of the ending of “The Power of the Dog”
As a tragic movie, “The Power of the Dog” is actually a process of revenge in order to save the family.
In fact, the beginning of the movie has already passed. After his father passed away, Peter hoped that his mother as a widow would be happy, and he would do his best to prevent her from being harmed.
This tells the development direction of the plot and ending of “The Power of the Dog”.
From the cute rabbit for research and dissection, to riding alone to look for the carcasses of cattle infected with anthrax, Peter is not only quite calm and thoughtful.
In the end, it was as if he could see the dog on the mountain growling tenderly.
It’s just that unlike Phil who wants to protect himself and people of his kind, Peter wants to protect his mother who was cruelly treated by Phil.
The meaning of the title of “The Power of the Dog”
“The Power of the Dog” is derived from Chapter 22, Section 20 of “Psalms”: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.”
Since the dog is a symbol of uncleanness and even evil in “Psalms”, Peter does not hesitate to borrow “The Power of the Dog” in order to keep his beloved mother away from evil.
He used Phil’s trust in him to allow the anthracnose bacilli on the leather rope to infect his whole body from the wound on Phil’s hand.
In addition to bringing a shocking ending to the movie, he also made the whole film “The Power of the Dog” and the character more complicated and more space for discussion.
The complex human nature of “The Power of the Dog”
Although Phil tortured Rose as an outsider in order to conceal his fragility, he also showed kindness to her son Peter and wanted to help this young man who was oppressed from the bottom of his heart.
Is this good or bad?
Although Peter wanted to protect his mother wholeheartedly, he personally killed Phil who was kind to him and regarded him as his son or younger brother.
Is this kind of him good or evil?
I really like the human description of “The Power of the Dog” which is complicated and has no absolute answers.
It is far more difficult to truly understand a person than to see the shadow of the “barking dog” on the mountain.
“The Power of the Dog” film review conclusion
On the whole, Jane Campion directed the film again after 12 years. This time, in Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog”, through a pair of brothers with different personalities, it extends to them and the characters around them.
The calm and restrained rhythm and classical and delicate image language of the whole film gradually lay out and brew the complicated and inexplicable relationship and humanity between the characters in the interaction of the characters, and they will be announced and detonated at the last moment.
Not only the familiar Benedict Cumberbatch, but Kodi Smit-McPhee, who played the Blue Devil in “Dark Phoenix”, also performed brilliantly.
You can look forward to the performance of “The Power of the Dog” at the Oscars next year.