The Power of the Dog is a 2021 internationally co-produced drama film written and directed by Jane Campion, based on the same name by Thomas Savage. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, and Frances Conroy.
The 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.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank
Kirsten Dunst as Rose Gordon
Jesse Plemons as George Burbank
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Peter Gordon
Thomasin McKenzie as Lola
Genevieve Lemon as Mrs. Lewis
Keith Carradine as Governor Edward
Frances Conroy as Old Lady
Peter Carroll as Old Gent
Adam Beach as Edward Nappo
It was announced in May 2019 that Jane Campion was to write and direct the film with Benedict Cumberbatch and Elisabeth Moss cast to star. Paul Dano entered negotiations to join the film in September. He would be confirmed to start the next month, with Kirsten Dunst cast to replace Moss in her role. However, by November, Dano also dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with The Batman. Jesse Plemons was cast to replace him. In February 2020, Thomasin McKenzie, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Frances Conroy, Keith Carradine, Peter Carroll, and Adam Beach joined.
Filming began in New Zealand on January 10, 2020, in the southern region of Otago, including the city of Dunedin. Production on the film was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Cumberbatch, Dunst, and Plemons reportedly remained in New Zealand during the country's lockdown. After border exemptions were granted for cast and crew, production resumed on June 22, 2020.
The Power of the Dog had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2021. Special Presentation screenings are scheduled at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival that same month. The film will screen at film festivals in London, Mill Valley, Montclair, New York (centerpiece screening), San Diego, San Sebastian, and Zurich by the end of its run. It is scheduled for a limited release on November 17, 2021, before streaming on Netflix on December 1.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval score of 91%, with an average rating of 8.40/10 based on 45 critical reviews. The critic's consensus reads, "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." According to Metacritic, which assigned a weighted average score of 92 out of 100 based on 18 critics, the film received "universal acclaim."
Director Jane Campion won the Silver Lion for Best Direction at Venice. She will also be honored with the "Mind the Gap - Best Innovation" award at Mill Valley.
At TIFF, the film was second runner-up for the People's Choice Award.