The Power of the Dog (2021, Jane Campion)

I was supposed to go out and see Nightmare Alley, the first of a wave of Christmas-week movies, but the 3pm show was filling up and I didn’t want to be around other humans, so watched this on the TV instead. Obvs, I liked it.

1925 Montana, gentle friendly rancher Jesse Plemons weds sad widow Kirsten Dunst who has bookish son Kodi Smit-McPhee (Young Nightcrawler in the last X-Men), and they all move in with Jesse’s alpha-bully brother Benedict Cumberbatch. Seems like it’s all going in an unpleasant direction, but as BC begins to soften, the kid calmly plots revenge on Benedict for driving Kirsten to drink.

Sophie Monks Kaufman in LWL:

Campion is a master of intertwining character and plot, so that a revelation of one nudges the other along. In this, her first film explicitly centring male psychology after a career of female character studies, she makes observations about masculinity and power that defy classification. She has blown these subjects wide open and we can but stand still and try to catch the fragments as they rain down.

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