The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog ★★★½

The Power of the Dog is cinema with its most powerful elements. A film where every artist, from Campion to Cumberbatch to Dunst to Greenwood, is on fire. It's cinema that feels like raw cogent power.

Yet Campion's decision to solely focus on what it wants to subvert, concealing scenes and other character's intentions, with an ending that feels like a clever narrative sleight of hand at the expense of a deeper study into everyone's intentions, possibly turning the film into an acute wonder at the expense of lasting power, is what isn't fully clicking for me.

Yet the power of the filmmaking is everything. In a way my response to this is similar to Dune. Where the script is the least important aspect. With Dune it's convoluted scifi exposition and with Power of the Dog it's some of the choices made, but the movie seduces you into ignoring your objections.

And that final shot gives you the urge to watch the movie again, with different eyes, to see what was really happening. Was the story told this way to hint at a creeping modernity that the characters couldn't see coming? Was there a reason we were kept in the same ignorance they were?

That ability to demand a rewatch is great, but I don't know why we couldn't have just seen it all the first time.

Paul liked these reviews