The Power of the Dog (2021)

“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.” -IMDB

The Power of the Dog (2021)

Last week, I was recording Valley Girl with my lovely co-host, Courtney, and we were talking about awards season. Specifically, we were discussing the overhaul that is needed to awards season. From patronizing speeches (though I may often agree with their sentiment), to the division of the genders, to the eternal lack of representation, to the clear favoritism for movies that pander specifically to the academy awards (aka the “Oscar darlings”), Hollywood is living up more than ever to its reputation of being out of touch.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

So, what does this have to do with Power of the Dog?

Well, despite my irritation with awards season, I still attempt to see as many of the films nominated as possible so that I can rudely judge them all equally. And this year Power of the Dog is named as one of the, if not the, lead contender for Best Picture. To me, this is a movie that so clearly panders only to the art house crowd and couldn’t care less about anyone else.

To be honest with you, I shut the movie off after twenty minutes and then had to come back to it the next day because I was so irritated.

Yes, it is well acted but you can’t expect less from the cast they lined up for it. ALTHOUGH WHO KEEPS CASTING BENEDICT AS AN AMERICAN, HE CANNOT (I REPEAT, CANNOT) DO AN AMERICAN ACCENT!!! And yes, the cinematography is beautiful but I give credit more to the New Zealand (as western US) landscape it was filmed in.

It’s a story that makes you feel as bleak and uncomfortable as humanly possible and is in no way representative of the nuance of life. I can’t go into much detail in case you want to watch it, but the ending was a real exclamation mark on why I couldn’t stand the entirety of the film.

I do have to say that maybe this film just isn’t for me. There are plenty of arthouse movies I love that friends find pretentious or just completely forgettable. So I respect if you end up enjoying this film, but for me it was an exercise in the pretentiousness of Hollywood.

Rating: 4 out 10 Claire Bears


If you like this movie, you should also watch: There Will Be Blood, The Piano, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Streaming: Netflix

With: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons

Directed By: Jane Campion

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