Benedict Cumberbatch as you’ve never seen him before is one focus of Jane Campion’s long-awaited return to the big screen. He plays the brutal Phil Burbank, a cowboy still clinging to the old ways, even though it is 1925. Jesse Plemons is his more introspective brother, George. When George woos and weds local widow Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst, Plemons’ real-life wife)—and then brings her to live at the family ranch, something cold-eyed Phil thoroughly disapproves of—the stage is set for raft of psychological and physical battles, all set against the magnificent New Zealand landscape that doubles for the mountain wilds of Montana. It’s splendid work from Campion—let’s hope it doesn’t take another 12 years for her to make her next feature!
‘It’s the director’s first feature since 2009’s “Bright Star” and is so confident and well-textured it reminds us what we’ve been missing… [“The Power of the Dog”] is a brawny, brooding drama about the wreckage caused by men, beautifully framed in muted neutral tones as the camera circles the ranch-house with a deliberate, stealthy tread… Incrementally, by degrees, Campion shows the ways in which the men who set out to tame the frontier have instead been broken and bent to its will.’—Xan Brooks, The Guardian