The Power of the Dog (2021) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Power of the Dog (2021)



Critic Consensus: Brought to life by a stellar ensemble led by Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog reaffirms writer-director Jane Campion as one of her generation's finest filmmakers.

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Severe, pale-eyed, handsome, Phil Burbank 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, reveling in their hurt and rousing his fellow cowhands to laughter -- all except his brother George, who comforts Rose 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 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?


Critic Reviews for The Power of the Dog

All Critics (304) | Top Critics (74)

It's a slow build, and for most of the time, I had no idea where this was all heading - which only made its shocking but well-earned ending all the more gratifying.

January 6, 2022 | Full Review…

Campion handles such psychological denseness with virtuoso control, often whittling scenes to snippets of emotion and innuendo.

December 13, 2021 | Full Review…

We're talking about this when it comes to awards season.

December 10, 2021 | Full Review…

Jane Campion's eighth feature film, her first in 12 years, The Power of the Dog reconfirms the director as a powerful force in contemporary cinema.

December 9, 2021 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

The acting is sensational and Campion caps it off with a perfectly unsettling conclusion.

December 9, 2021 | Full Review…

Overall, The Power of the Dog probably isn't as powerful or wrenching as Campion intended for it to be but it remains an unsettling piece of cinema.

December 5, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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