Is The Power of the Dog a horror movie? A romance? A twisted amalgamation of both? Netflix’s first look at the movie doesn’t really clarify. The film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, appears to have many different elements at play.
The visual imagery and soundscape of the trailer weave a suspenseful tale. Cumberbatch’s Phil Burbank whistles incessantly in the backdrop as the tension builds. The Power Of The Dog trailer even has a shot of blood strewn on wheat. Alongside isolating landscapes and close-ups of dancing fingers, there’s a deep unease to the whole thing. But the official description seems to tell a different story.
Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
Could a love story actually be on the horizon? Deadline further shares that Dunst’s Rose marries Phil’s brother, George (Plemons). Though George is kind to Rose, Phil is cruel. Rose’s son, Peter (Smit-McPhee) is also involved, a possible pawn in the relationships between the adults. The interplay of kindness and menace seems to be a continuous theme in The Power Of The Dog.
All this to say, if there is some kind of romance brewing, it certainly doesn’t start off on the right foot. We hope Rose can keep a clear head as Phil whistles in her ear. And that if the movie does bring the two together, it doesn’t romanticize the seeming torment that exists between the characters.
Netflix’s official page for the film also defines it as ominous, cerebral, and understated. Another interesting blend of adjectives.
The Power Of The Dog is written and directed by Oscar-winner Jane Campion. The movie will have a theatrical release in select theaters on November 17. It will arrive on Netflix on December 1.
In the meanwhile, we leave you with this haunting tease from NetflixFilm on Twitter… “Phil is a whistler, and a good one. His fingers move like spiders’ legs. A severe, pale-eyed rancher, he inspires fear and awe.” Certainly sounds like some kind of horror to us.