Netflix, the world’s leading streaming service, is adding another interesting feature film to its platform in December this year (2021).

The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Doctor Strange) in the lead role as Phil Burbank, a cowboy with a rather large ego.

Cumberbatch is more than the world-renowned detective Sherlock and the sorcerer Doctor Strange; his acting skills have seen him take the lead in other movies such as The Courier (2021), The imitation Game (2014), and Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013).

This year, Cumberbatch will no doubt deliver a perfect performance in one of Netflix’s newest projects.

The Power of the Dog is based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Savage, and tells the story of cruelty and power; that is, until the realisation comes that love can be found in the strangest of places...

Phil is a tall, pale, handsome rancher. He is brutally charming and has an ego the size of the bulls he tends to. He is a cowboy that swims naked in the river, castrates a bull calf with two swift knife slashes, and seems to mock whoever he pleases.

The film takes place in 1925, and the Burbank brothers are rich ranchers living in Montana. The brothers meet Rose (Kirsten Dunst), a widow with a gullible son named Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee).

First look image of The Power of the Dog / Picture Credit: Netflix
First look image of The Power of the Dog / Picture Credit: Netflix

Phil behaves aggressively and cruelly towards Rose and her son, driving them both to tears and causing them pain and embarrassment in from of his fellow cowhands. The only one who isn’t laughing, is Phil’s brother, George (Jesse Plemons).

George decides to comfort Rose, and later returns to marry her.

As Phil flashes between rage and his torment of poor Rose, the taunting takes a new, odd form. His cruel mockery of Rose and her son becomes louder, playing to the tune of the laughter coming from the farmhands.

But, Phil’s almost inhuman teasing of George subsides, and he appears to take the young boy under his wing. Could Phil’s gesture be a genuine change of heart, or a plot to derive even further pain and sadness from George and his widowed mother?

The teaser trailer for the movie gives us little to go on, and has an eerie tone to it. Cumberbatch is shown to be a vicious and nasty man, who obtains pleasure from inflicting sorrow from others, namely his brother’s wife and her child.

The setting looks stunning, and the cinematography even more so; it will certainly be interesting to see Cumberbatch in such a menacing and brutish role.

The Power of the Dog will arrive on Netflix on December 1st, 2021.

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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