The Power of the Dog is a familiar story but one that’s told with a great deal of precession. Jane Campion navigates the viewer through a Jacob and Esau dynamic, gender politics, and the waning age of the cowboy, but the viewers attention stays locked on Benedict Cumberbatch who disappears into the lead role. It’s the kind of role and performance that come together and remind the audience how good Cumberbatch can be if he actually has complicated material.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I get why this is decisive. It adds new philosophy in the face of a franchise that has had its fans define it for decades, it humanizes iconic heroes in light of their faults, and most of all it challenges the audience. For me those are all good things but for some that will look too different from the franchise they've come to love. I do think there are a lot of invalid complaints that just aren't fair and unrealistic…