Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel “The Power of the Dog” is regarded in literary circles as one of those lost classics that didn’t get its due at the time, but is primed for reconsideration. Filmmaker Jane Campion is about to bring this scorching tale of two brothers, and the widow and her son who upend their sleepy but repressed life on a Montana ranch, to a massive global audience with the Netflix release of her film version. Below, watch the trailer for the movie before it heads to the Venice and New York film festivals this fall.
The cast features Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Frances Conroy, and Keith Carradine. Here’s the synopsis shared by the New York Film Festival:
“Campion reaffirms her status as one of the world’s greatest — and most gratifyingly eccentric — filmmakers with this mesmerizing, psychologically rich variation on the American western. Adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage that was notoriously ahead of its time in depicting repressed sexuality, ‘The Power of the Dog’ excavates the emotional torment experienced at a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s. Here, melancholy young widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst) has come to live with her sensitive new husband, George (Jesse Plemons), though their lives are increasingly complicated by the erratic, potentially violent behavior of his sullen and bullying brother, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose mistrust of both Rose and her misfit son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads to tragic consequences. Mirroring the unpredictable story turns, Campion crafts a film of unexpected cadences and rhythms, and her daring is matched every step of the way by her extraordinary, fully immersed cast and a mercurial, destabilizing score by Jonny Greenwood.”
Campion’s last feature film was more than a decade ago, with 2009’s “Bright Star.” But since then, she’s directed television, including the miniseries “Top of the Lake” and the followup “Top of the Lake: China Girl.” Her 1993 classic “The Piano” made her the first and only female director to win the Palme d’Or, Cannes’ top prize, until this year when Julia Ducournau won for “Titane.” For “The Piano,” Campion also won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award. This year, she could be up in the Adapted race for “Power of the Dog.”
Netflix releases “The Power of the Dog” in select theaters following its festival run on November 17 followed by a streaming debut on Netflix.
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