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Avabelle

The Power of the Dog (2021)

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20 minutes ago, chediavolo said:

Not into movies about a secretly gay grooming pedophile scumbag, which I did not know this was when I started it. 

Are you referring to Bronco Henry or Phil? Because I didn't view Phil's interest in Peter as sexual -though I feel the film purposely telegraphed it to be seen that way so that the ending will be more startling. I took it as that Phil was trying to make Peter closer to him as just another way to cause Peter's mother pain. 

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1 minute ago, AngieBee1 said:

Are you referring to Bronco Henry or Phil? Because I didn't view Phil's interest in Peter as sexual -though I feel the film purposely telegraphed it to be seen that way so that the ending will be more startling. I took it as that Phil was trying to make Peter closer to him as just another way to cause Peter's mother pain. 

 

1 minute ago, AngieBee1 said:

Are you referring to Bronco Henry or Phil? Because I didn't view Phil's interest in Peter as sexual -though I feel the film purposely telegraphed it to be seen that way so that the ending will be more startling. I took it as that Phil was trying to make Peter closer to him as just another way to cause Peter's mother pain. 

To me it looked like he was grooming him to have sex with him and actually I thought they did when they were out camping and that was one of the reasons why he was killed. 

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This is why movies are great because every has their own take on how the scenes have played out.

To me Peter killed Phil because he saw the pain his mother was going through thanks to his psychological torture. He returns from boarding school to a woman who once ran her own business who has now taken to the bed and secretly drinking / drunk all the time. From the very moment Phil laid eyes on Peter he had a perception of him that he was weak and Peter played that to his advantage. As Peter says somewhere in the film, "What kind of man would I be if I didn't protect my mother." He knew the only way she would have peace was if Phil was out of the picture.

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Why did Phil want to mentally torture her? That bit I didn’t fully understand. Was it because he was jealous his brother got married? He seemed to have such a creepy obsession with bullying her.

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17 minutes ago, Avabelle said:

Why did Phil want to mentally torture her? That bit I didn’t fully understand. Was it because he was jealous his brother got married? He seemed to have such a creepy obsession with bullying her.

He viewed her as an interloper who was interfering with his life with his brother. Also, for a lot of people loneliness is bearable when someone is on the same boat. Phil didn't have a partner and it was likely fine for him to live with his memories of Bronco Henry because his brother was also single. But when his brother found someone that left him the odd man out.

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I found this riveting from beginning to end, all four of the central performances outstanding. I suppose I should see the other Jane Campion movies I haven't seen. It's quite a return for her.  

From the very moment Phil laid eyes on Peter he had a perception of him that he was weak and Peter played that to his advantage.

It's interesting that the point at which Phil starts regarding Peter differently is that scene in which he walks past all the mocking cowboys and he seems to be able to tune them out, although he obviously hears them. He walks back the way he came, unruffled. There's a self-possession Phil finds admirable. Later, he's surprised at the clinical detachment with which Peter breaks the rabbit's neck.

But whatever fond feeling there might ultimately be on Phil's part, there's always an element of continuing to twist the knife in his despised sister-in-law by "taking away" her son, and Peter is aware of this. Phil fatally underestimates Peter's main loyalty.

It's a good movie year when this and the West Side Story remake (high-level artistry put to very different ends) are front-runners, and there are other awards-season releases in the very-good-to-great range as well.

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W Best Performances: Benedict Cumberbatch Never Thought He’d Be a Leading Man
Interview by Lynn Hirschberg    01.11.22
https://www.wmagazine.com/culture/benedict-cumberbatch-power-of-the-dog-louis-wain-interview-2022

Quote

In Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, you play Phil Burbank, a rancher who has very intense feelings about his brother. But in real life, you are an only child. Did that inform your performance at all?
It's very weird, not having had a brother, to manifest that, but at the same time, the dynamic of their relationship is so specifically about two diametrically opposed human beings who are lumped together, and it's an odd-couple friendship relationship. The filial part of it was something that had to be filled in. Jane was brilliant. She had us do crazy exercises of proximity, like waltzing together so that we could hold each other, smell each other, be very close to each other's bodies as we would've done in a very visceral way as brothers for all of our lives. And these are two men who slept in the same room, until [Phil’s brother] George finds love and goes next door to the parents' bedroom with Rose. It's very Freudian. You'd want Jesse [Plemons] as a brother. Phil's a mean bitch to him; he's just vile.

What’s your favorite part of the film?
One of my favorite moments in the whole film is when George (Jesse Plemons) and Rose (Kirsten Dunst) are waltzing at a picnic spot that Rose chooses after their wedding. He breaks away to hide his emotions, because he's overwhelmed by the idea that he doesn't have to be alone anymore. Just saying it makes me well up; it's just so touching. It's part of the tragedy—Phil's looking for love, he's looking for companionship and understanding, and he doesn't get it anywhere, so he ends up hating everything. He's not allowed the love that he experienced early in his life. Societally, he can't fully express himself, and therefore he takes it out on the world. He's just twisted into a kind of pretzel of hate and fear and bitterness by that, so it's a shame.
*  *  *
What’s the big takeaway from The Power of the Dog?
I think the big takeaway from this film is to understand that strength comes in very unexpected forms. We have to try and break down this very narrow definition of [strength] as the bully of the classroom having the keys to the kingdom, because that bully suffered something in order to be wanting to punch down, or be a misogynist, or belittle people, or point out flaws instead of encouraging people. It's impossible to just flick a switch, and I know it sounds a bit sappy, but we would live in a better place if we could question that behavior by understanding it and looking for it in dialogue with our children and educators and culture at large. Phil's set of circumstances are very particular to him, obviously, and looking under the bonnet of him doesn't solve toxic masculinity. He lacks love. I think that is a general truth of anyone who behaves in a way that needs brutality to control the situation—they've lacked love at some point in their life, for sure. That's when the insecurity comes out, and that's where the fear comes out, and that's where the need to dominate comes from.


Benedict Cumberbatch’s Mother Inspired Him to Pursue Acting [VIDEO]
by Lynn Hirschberg    01.11.22
https://www.wmagazine.com/video/benedict-cumberbatch-w-magazine

Edited by tv echo
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NStrong acting and great cinematography doesn't make up for a non-existent storyline.  I realized an hour in that nothing was going to happen and I should have stopped watching there.  It's better than Nomadland but that is literally not saying much.  Not worth taking away two hours of your life to watch.

Cumberbatch is terrific I will say and wouldn't mind seeing him win although it's a shame it will be for such a forgettable film.  I like Jesse Plemmons but all his character does is mope around pointlessly for two hours.  Kirsten Dunst fares better but there's not much else to her character or story here.

The Academy is setting up to honor yet another forgettable Best Picture winner.

 

 

 

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I wouldn't say it has no story.  there is very clearly a story, but you have to pay attention.  yes, it is a bit slow at times, but the information provided in the slower scenes is necessary to flesh out the story and the characters.

Excellent acting by both Benedict and Kodi.  

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It was nice to see Keith Carradine as the governor. It occurred to me that as a young actor, he made his film debut in a small part in another haunting, atmospheric Western, McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Fifty years later, he closes the loop.

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13 hours ago, Simon Boccanegra said:

I found this riveting from beginning to end, all four of the central performances outstanding. I suppose I should see the other Jane Campion movies I haven't seen. It's quite a return for her.

I love Jane Campion as a director. The Piano and Portrait of a Lady in particular but I also really liked Holy Smoke. I wanted to like this but for me a lot of the story was a drag. 

I did like the twist though that Peter was playing a long game with Phil. Both actors were very good in their roles here so I understand why they'd win if they do. I'm kind of hoping another movie wins for best picture though.

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On the governor: At the time the scene in PotD was taking place, 1925, the governor of Wyoming was actually a woman. Nellie Tayloe Ross overwhelmingly won a special election in 1924 when her husband died in office. She became the U.S.'s first female governor of any state. Later in life, she was appointed to a federal post by FDR. 

That's trivia you can probably stump people with, because if you ask "What state was the first to elect a female governor?" I don't think many people will guess Wyoming.

I know PotD is based on a book, but I'm surprised Jane Campion didn't take the opportunity to cast the role with a woman.

Edited by NotMySekrit2Tell
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The Power of the Dog got 3 SAG Awards nominations (all for individual acting performances)...

SAG Awards 2022: See the full list of nominees
By Lisa Respers France    January 12, 2022
https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/12/entertainment/sag-award-nominations-2022/index.html 

Quote

The ceremony will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS from The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California on at 8 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. PST on February 27.
*  *  *
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem, "Being the Ricardos"
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Power of the Dog"
Andrew Garfield, "Tick, Tick... Boom"
Will Smith, "King Richard"
Denzel Washington, "The Tragedy of Macbeth"
*  *  *
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Ben Affleck, "The Tender Bar"
Bradley Cooper, "Licorice Pizza"
Troy Kotsur, "CODA"
Jared Leto, "House of Gucci"
Kodi Smit-McPhee, "The Power of the Dog"

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Caitríona Balfe, "Belfast"
Cate Blanchett, "Nightmare Alley"
Ariana DeBose, "West Side Story"
Kirsten Dunst, "The Power of the Dog"
Ruth Negga, "Passing"

 

Edited by tv echo

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14 hours ago, NotMySekrit2Tell said:

On the governor: At the time the scene in PotD was taking place, 1925, the governor of Wyoming was actually a woman. Nellie Tayloe Ross overwhelmingly won a special election in 1924 when her husband died in office. She became the U.S.'s first female governor of any state. Later in life, she was appointed to a federal post by FDR. 

That's trivia you can probably stump people with, because if you ask "What state was the first to elect a female governor?" I don't think many people will guess Wyoming.

I know PotD is based on a book, but I'm surprised Jane Campion didn't take the opportunity to cast the role with a woman.

I thought the story was based in Montana 

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Yes the movie was set in Montana although the filming location was obviously New Zealand.  Looked like the area where they filmed the Rohan scenes in LOTR.

I know this film is hit or miss with everyone but I personally loved the way the story unfolded.  Jane Campion is a masterful show don't tell filmmaker.  I liked how the movie seamlessly blends multiple genres and created a psychological western thriller.

I think one of my favorite scenes is the way Phil effortlessly tortures Rose with the banjo while she's trying to practice the piano.  So many damn layers and you were just all oooh damn bastard.

On 1/12/2022 at 9:54 AM, Hanahope said:

I wouldn't say it has no story.  there is very clearly a story, but you have to pay attention.  yes, it is a bit slow at times, but the information provided in the slower scenes is necessary to flesh out the story and the characters.

Excellent acting by both Benedict and Kodi.  

Absolutely agree.  Even the opening where it's shown the brothers share a room shows the close bond and dependence Phil has on George.  My only complaint is that Plemons essentially disappears after the second half but then there was great development with Phil and Peter.  

Benedict Cumberbatch is probably a lock for an Oscar nom but I don't know if he will beat Will Smith or Andrew Garfield. I hope Kodi gets one as well he does seem to be getting lots of notice across the board.

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Holy shit, well that ending certainly surprised me!   Honestly, I have been pretty meh on some of Jane Campion's movies in the past (and also the series Top of the Lake), but this one was a slow burn that really paid off for me.  

I agree with the read on Phil others have had, that he hated Rose because his brother's marriage made Phil even lonelier.  Also, note how Phil stops calling George "fatso"  -- George's marriage gives him more confidence and a higher social status than Phil (even though the dinner with the Governor went poorly, and Rose looked like a deer in headlights the whole time, George is more accepted into "polite" society with a wife).   Phil also believes Rose is a gold digger, beneath the Burbank family, and less intelligent than himself ... though Phil prefers working all day on the ranch and rarely bathes, his family has money and points out that Phil studied the classics at one point.   

That scene where George tears up at the idea he won't be so lonely anymore ... oof, Jesse Plemons really got me verklempt on that one.  A huge part of the story is loneliness.  Phil's loneliness (without Bronco, knowing society won't let him openly love who he loves) is part of why he's so hateful.  George only seems to realize how painfully lonely he's been when he experiences happiness.  Rose loves George but clearly feels isolated and insecure once she moves to the ranch.    But Peter ... he loves his mother, but otherwise he seems mostly happy being a loner, and some people are just like that ... one more thing Phil didn't understand about Peter ...     

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1 hour ago, SlovakPrincess said:

But Peter ... he loves his mother, but otherwise he seems mostly happy being a loner, and some people are just like that ... one more thing Phil didn't understand about Peter ...     

He does mention a friend at school whom he doesn't want to bring with him to the ranch, with the Phil of it all ("I don't want him to meet a certain person"). I was thinking a boyfriend, although it doesn't have to be. 

It's a tribute to Cumberbatch as well as the material that Phil seems a tragic villain. He's brilliant and even gifted, but he uses his gifts to hurt people rather than to bring pleasure or to build connections. The banjo/piano scene makes that point without words. 

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Yes, it’s left ambiguous whether Peter is gay and if his college friend is more than a friend.  He could fear the friend will be taunted by Phil or he could not want the friend to see Peter being taunted — or he could simply think Phil is generally embarrassing.  
I think it’s just a friend that Peter bonds with as a fellow intellect and passionate student.  But Peter mentions the new friend to his mom in an offhand manner — he’s happy to have a friend, but loneliness doesn’t seem to gnaw at him like it does with the other characters.  Peter will hold out for an actual connection based on shared interests, whereas Phil tries to force a possessive closeness with the brother he has little in common with.


One of the saddest little touches in the movie is when Phil makes the tiny desk and chair for George — like, he wants  to connect but the obvious way (being pleasant to his brother’s wife and being happy for his brother) is utterly lost on him.  


Another thing that struck me — Rose is fully accepting of Peter just as he is.  She may worry that others will be cruel to him, but she never asks him to behave differently or hide parts of himself.  This may further explain Peter’s fierce devotion.

Edited by SlovakPrincess
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