Review of Netflix’s The Power of the Dog Teaser Starring Benedict Cumberbatch

Daljit Kalsi

Netflix has released the first teaser trailer for Oscar-winning filmmaker Jane Campion’s forthcoming film adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 cult novel The Power of the Dog. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch and will have its world premiere next week at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival, which will then be followed by a limited theatrical release on November 17.  It is scheduled to make its Netflix debut on December 1.

The Power of the Dog teaser, which you can check out along with the key art poster, highlights Cumberbatch’s portrayal of a wealthy rancher named Phil Burbank as his overpowering presence affects Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee’s characters.

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The Power of the Dog is written and directed by Jane Campion, the acclaimed filmmaker behind the 1993 period drama film The Piano. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Frances Conroy, Keith Carradine, Peter Carroll, and Adam Beach.

Pick up a copy of the novel.

“Severe, pale-eyed, handsome, Phil Burbank is brutally beguiling,” the official film synopsis reads. “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?”

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The Power of the Dog is a production by See-Saw Films, Bad Girl Creek, and Max Films in association with Brightstar, The New Zealand Film Commission, Cross City Films and BBC Film. It is produced by Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Roger Frappier, Jane Campion, and Tanya Seghatchian.

Campion leads a creative team consists of Ari Wegner (Director of Photography), Grant Major (Production Designer), Kirsty Cameron (Costume Designer), Jonny Greenwood (Composer), and Peter Scibberas (Editor).

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