By Matt Neglia
Netflix has released the teaser trailer for “The Power of the Dog” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Frances Conroy, Keith Carradine, Peter Carroll, Adam Beach. The film new film from Jane Campion will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival next week and then play at all of the major fall film festivals after, followed by a limited theatrical release on November 17th and then on Netflix on December 1st.
Click below to see the trailer.
Plot Synopsis: 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?
What do you all think of the trailer? I love how little this teaser tells us about the overall story, focusing more on Jane Campion’s visuals, mood, and performances from the actors. The emphasis on sound, propelled by Phil’s eerie whistling, is discomforting, strangely alluring in a dark, hypnotic way – no doubt mirrored off of Phil, a character which Benedict Cumberbatch will likely sink his teeth into like he never has before. Kirsten Dunst also looks to be delivering a performance that could bring her first Oscar nomination. All around, this looks like a genuinely compelling and complex psychological drama, set against the backdrop of the west in the 1920s. With the film being the only film to play at Venice, TIFF, Telluride, and NYFF, it’s clear Netflix has a ton of confidence in this film for the upcoming awards season. What do you think, though? Let us know your thoughts though in the comments below or on our Twitter account.
You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture