Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a ruthless ranch owner in the new trailer for The Power of the Dog, the Jane Campion-directed Western that heads to theaters this month before its arrival on Netflix on Dec. 1.
Taking place on the Montana frontier in 1925, the film stars Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons as brothers Phil and George Burbank, with the latter marrying Kirsten Dunst’s widowed Rose and adopting her son, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. This family dynamic is at the heart of this slow-burning Western, written and directed by Oscar-winner Campion.
The Power of the Dog is one of a few films starring the British actor that debuted at film festivals recently — or “The Rise and Fall (Season) of Benedict Cumberbatch” — with Rolling Stone writing of Cumberbatch’s role following its Venice Film Festival premiere: “A John Wayne type overcompensating for oceans of insecurities churning inside his gut, always balling his calloused hands into defensive fists. He’s also got to compete with the background, given that Campion has made a proper, old-school Western, which fills every inch of the frame with majestic landscapes and a meticulously recreated, hardscrabble way of life.”
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood also composed the film’s score, previewing his work with “West” and “25 Years” last month.
“The main thought I kept returning to was that this film is set in the modern era,” Greenwood said in a statement. “It’s too easy to assume any cowboy story takes place in the 19th century. There is so much culture in Phil’s character. He’s well-read and it isn’t hard to imagine his taste in music being — alongside his proficiency on the banjo — very sophisticated. The pleasure in a character this complex and emotionally pent-up is that it allows for complexity in some of the music, as well as simpler, sweeter things for his contrasting brother. Bouncing between these two characters, musically, generated a lot of ideas.”