“The power of the dog”: about this ending

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“The power of the dog”: about this ending


This article contains spoilers for the Netflix feature ‘Power of the Dog’.

The acclaim for Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” has been loud and clear, from its premiere in Venice to its theatrical and Netflix release. But the end of Campion’s quivering Western drama has been anything but loud or clear. The film’s subtle conclusion has a “big reveal” that takes a moment to figure out – probably not the big gesture you might expect from the story’s Battle of the Wills.

Adapted from the 1967 Thomas Savage novel, the film begins with two ranching brothers, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George (Jesse Plemons), and follows what happens when George’s new wife, Rose (Kirsten Dunst), and his son, Peter (Kodi Smit -McPhee), move in with them. Larger than life and mean as hell, Phil immediately begins to torment mother and son. Rose goes numb with alcohol, but Peter turns out to be a dark horse. He’s awkward but fiercely protective of his mother, and he focuses his vigilant intelligence on bringing Phil to justice.

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