The Power of the Dog on Netflix, in which nothing is as it seems
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After the review of a very popular movie on Netflix – Don’t Look Up, now it’s the turn of another, which has gained momentum in the media buzz. This year, The Power of the Dog won the Golden Globe for Best Picture and for directing by Jane Campion, who won an Oscar in 1993 with “The Piano”.
The Power of the Dog is a very surprising film. It is a western, but not the one we are used to with Indians and cowboys. For fans of action, I would straightforward state that there is no point in reading this review or trying to watch the movie if you are expecting battle scenes, cold-blooded characters, the Great Bear, her sons or old-shaterhands. This is a very different, modern western, which takes place in 1925. There are cowboys, but no Indians, or at least not those with feathers, tomahawks and wild screams, with painted faces in the colors of war, rather somehow humble, submissive and in need.
The antagonist, brilliantly played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who enters the story as a slovenly middle-aged macho, tough, rude cowboy and bully, turns out to be an intelligent middle-aged man, a graduate of Yale, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Club, a sought-after interesting interlocutor on all topics of high society, who has completely given up secular life because he has found a lot of beauty and meaning in the simple and rough life of the ranch or .. for something else, everyone decides for themself. There are more surprises from this character, but I will not reveal more. And if you don’t know who Benedict Cumberbatch is, you have a lot to catch up with, but start with Doctor Strange.
Opposite his persona stands the protagonist-a gentle boy, harassed by the machos in the ranch because of his appearance, activities, interests, behavior. Do not rush to draw conclusions about him, however, because this character is even more enigmatic and offers even bigger surprises.
The movie starts slowly, a little boring, even on the first try I fell asleep and gave it 1 week to mature. But I advise movie fans not to give up so quickly, because after the first 15 minutes, the plot and characters begin to unfold in an unimaginably intriguing way. It is worth watching carefully, and not by the way, not only because of the surprises it elegantly presents, but also because of the exceptional play of Benedict Cumberbatch. This person can masterfully transform in anything. There is no trace of his British accent here. His whole appearance, radiance, gait, and demeanor are as if he had ridden horses in the wide steppes all his life, castrated cattle, rode stallions, and taught cowboys how to survive in harsh environment.
The camera is curious, observant, even loving. She caresses with her eyes everything that impresses her – fine and tightly woven cowboy rope, soft gloves, with Indian embroidery and fringe, finely crafted paper flowers, muscular horses, gently folded hills that surround the steppes, the winding road between them. Close-ups explore the penetrating blue eyes, high and sharp cheekbones, rough features and sculpted figure of Benedict, the delicate, long and slightly ridiculous looking figure and infinitely large and deep eyes of Kodi Smit-McPhee, who plays the gentle boy. Cody won a Golden Globe for supporting role with this performance. If you’re wondering why his name doesn’t ring the bell, it’s because he’s still Australian actor, still young, but you may know him from X-Men, Apocalypse, where he was a blue creature named Kurt Wagner, the Nightcrowler.
The slightly forgotten Kirsten Dunst has partnered very well with these titans, side by side with Jesse Plemons, who is the king of supporting roles – we recently saw him in The Irishman by Scorsese.
If you are a true movie buff, The Power of the Dog should be on your list. It is like old red wine, which must be decanted, left to breathe and given a chance to reveal itself gradually. Give it the patience it needs and I guarantee you will fall in love with it, because this is a film about love or, as they once mentioned in it – l’amour, but not burning, direct and all-encompassing, but somehow awkward, unrecognized, underestimated. There are 2 kisses in the whole movie – the first marks the beginning of the end, the last defines the end.
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