Netflix today released the official trailer and evocative poster for Jane Campion’s latest masterpiece, The Power of the Dog, based on the novel by Thomas Savage and starring Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The film won Campion Best Director at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Severe, pale-eyed, handsome, Phil Burbank (Cumberbatch) is brutally beguiling. All of Phil’s romance, power and fragility is trapped in the past and in the land: He can castrate a bull calf with two swift slashes of his knife; he swims naked in the river, smearing his body with mud. He is a cowboy as raw as his hides.
The year is 1925. The Burbank brothers are wealthy ranchers in Montana. At the Red Mill restaurant on their way to market, the brothers meet Rose, the widowed proprietress, and her impressionable son Peter. Phil behaves so cruelly he drives them both to tears, revelling in their hurt and rousing his fellow cowhands to laughter – all except his brother George (Plemons), who comforts Rose (Dunst) then returns to marry her.
As Phil swings between fury and cunning, his taunting of Rose takes an eerie form – he hovers at the edges of her vision, whistling a tune she can no longer play. His mockery of her son Peter (Smit-McPhee) is more overt, amplified by the cheering of Phil’s cowhand disciples. Then Phil appears to take the boy under his wing. Is this latest gesture a softening that leaves Phil exposed, or a plot twisting further into menace?
The Power of the Dog is a See-Saw Films, Bad Girl Creek and Max Films production in association with Brightstar, The New Zealand Film Commission, Cross City Films and BBC Film and will be released in select theaters on November 24 and on Netflix December 1. Here is the new trailer and dual posters.