THE POWER OF THE DOG
2.5 STARS OUT OF 5 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
DIRECTOR : JANE CAMPION
CAST : KODI SMIT-MCPHEE, KIRSTEN DUNST, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH
CAPSULE REVIEW (there’s not much in this film for a full length review)
An underwhelming effort by well-known director Jane Campion. Enjoy the 70 mm rugged panoramic views of what pic says is 1925 Montana but is actually 2020 Otago, New Zealand. As for the dramaturgy, it promises more than it delivers and simply does not have the emotional impact we keep expecting. Visual style marries ‘Days of Heaven’ with ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and throw in some gliding landscape shots from early part of ‘Shining’. The setting is a vast, sparse ranch populated by two rich brothers inhabiting a large mansion surrounded by flat scorched ground (no wonder this is NZ – the mansion interior looks more like Nathan Homestead, Auckland). One of them becomes very happy after marrying an alcohol-addicted lady who has her own baggage including an interesting strip of a son, while the bullying brother simmers in his own ornery juices. The boy-like son (Peter, played with anemic elan by Kodi Smit-McPhee in the film’s best act) from the previous relationship, is reed-thin, lanky and quiet with slightly effeminate body language – he is teased with cat-calls as gay, but little do they know what a medical student is capable of. This must be the most miserably listless act by Kirsten Dunst and Benedict Cumberbatch’s ill-behaved bull is never fully unleashed, spending his entire ring-time in a semi-castrated state.
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