The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog ★★★★

Cumberbatch plays Phil with an enduring, unyielding ferocity, that comes to play as the rawest but most brutal form of sincerity. It’s a wonder to constantly see Cumberbatch’s imposing performance juxtaposed by that of a commiserated performance from Kirsten Dunst. 

Kodi Smit-McPhee is a welcome surprise, his presence is a constant surge of latent unpredictability and awareness, seemingly surfacing only enough to be pulled into the mysterious core of his character, whilst never disclosing too much of his enigma.

Wegner’s cinematography is gorgeous, brooding even, blending into Campion’s unembellished direction. Brutality folding into truths uncovered; grim realities further understood about our inner demons and their starkly dominating presence over ourselves and those around us, explored through the harshness of life among others experiencing similar fates of conflict and degeneration.

The Power of the Dog is complex and lustful, often coming across as unnerving, in exploring the dynamics of power, pain and physicality, framed through the pinpoint lens of Campion’s refined eye for capturing humanity even in the most severe of environments and the most uncompromising of situations. Brushed over with waves of sexual tension, Campion’s latest wrestles audiences into the dirt before it lets us ponder its inner workings, but in hindsight, the journey is worth it in its slow-burning ascend towards a ruminative perspective of our inner demons and what causes lie beneath them.

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