The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog ★★★★

A bitter rancher, his naive brother, a sad woman and a cold young man. These are the players on Jane Campion's newest tale. It's not really a western, it's set in the west, but it does not fall on the genre's themes. It's rather what one would expect from Jane Campion (a compliment), a drama about sad people, trying to overcome just another day in their lives, without falling on despair.

However, Campion doesn't tell us that so explicitly, anger, drunkenness and coldness are some of the things she uses to tell us her characters aren't well, and the world around them can't really correct anything. There are some instances of good intentions throughout the film, they come mostly from the quiet brother, George, probably the main character we see less of. It's as if Jane Campion wanted us to see the worst part of this world. The colours are cold, the western landscape is brownish and with no signs of life around it. We see more of death than of life, we see animals being killed (not on the screen of course, the idea of), but we don't see animals giving birth or being treated with respect. It's funny, as I'm writing this, a lot of things I didn't think of during the film are coming to my mind. I'm thinking of how cold the film is, visually, thematically and how cold it leaves you. I feel so disconnected from everything I have seen. There were moments where I could see humanity coming for me and trying to reach me, I remember Lola, the character played by the always stunning Thomasin Mckenzie (even if she appears for so little time) provided me with such moments. But then again, isn't this what humanity is all about? We see people at their worst, not because they are intrinsically evil, but because they are in pain and that is their way of showing how much their heart is aching.

However, I think for as much humanity there was on display, there was also bits of inhumanity disguised of love and kindness. For those who have seen the film, you will know to what I am referring to, it's blatant but not a bad thing necessarily.

A final mention to the score. Johnny Greenwood! Man, I love Radiohead but I also love what he is doing solo in film score. It's simply brilliant.

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