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THE POWER OF THE DOG

  • Dir. Jane Campion
  • USA
  • 2021
  • 126 min.
  • R
  • DCP

Two-Week Engagement

  • Assistive Listening
  • Closed Captioning
  • Descriptive Audio
  • Hearing Loop
THE POWER OF THE DOG

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. (Synopsis from the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival)

“Campion’s modern Western presses against a razor-thin membrane between gentleness and cruelty. It portrays masculinity at its most playful, most volatile, and most hauntingly lonely, acting both as a searing exploration and a gorgeous tapestry of the little, secret moments that make up a person — all while unfolding against the backdrop of cinematic myth.” —Siddhant Adlakha, Observer

“This is a movie as big as the open sky, but one where human emotions are still distinctly visible, as fine and sharp as a blade of grass.“ —Stephanie Zacharek, TIME

"Once again demonstrating her own strong, clear vision — not to mention superb control of her craft — Campion proves her ability to illuminate hidden truths and let us see what was hiding in plain sight all along.” —Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"It’s been a long wait for a new Jane Campion film...but sometimes waiting makes a gift feel even more special. Nobody makes period films quite like Campion, a master of atmosphere and nuance, and THE POWER OF THE DOG, set in 1925 Montana, shimmers with anticipation in every frame. You have no idea where this story is going, but you’ll follow Campion’s vision anywhere.” —Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times

The Belcourt Theatre does not provide advisories about subject matter or potential triggering content, as sensitivities vary from person to person.

Beyond the synopses, trailers and review links on our website, other sources of information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense MediaIMDb and DoesTheDogDie.com as well as through general internet searches.

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