The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion

New Zealand/Australia | V.O. English | ST French | 2021 | 128 min | DCP | color | Fiction

Severe, pale-eyed, handsome, Phil Burbank is brutally beguiling. All of Phil’s romance, power and fragility is trapped in the past and in the land: He can castrate a bull calf with two swift slashes of his knife; he swims naked in the river, smearing his body with mud. He is a cowboy as raw as his hides. The year is 1925. The Burbank brothers are wealthy ranchers in Montana. At the Red Mill restaurant on their way to market, the brothers meet Rose, the widowed proprietress, and her impressionable son Peter. Phil behaves so cruelly he drives them both to tears, revelling in their hurt and rousing his fellow cowhands to laughter – all except his brother George, who comforts Rose then returns to marry her. As Phil swings between fury and cunning, his taunting of Rose takes an eerie form – he hovers at the edges of her vision, whistling a tune she can no longer play. His mockery of her son is more overt, amplified by the cheering of Phil’s cowhand disciples. Then Phil appears to take the boy under his wing. Is this latest gesture a softening that leaves Phil exposed, or a plot twisting further into menace?

Director Jane Campion
Music Jonny Greenwood
Cinematographer Ari Wegner
Screenplay Jane Campion
Cast Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Genevieve Lemon, Thomasin McKenzie, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Production A See-Saw Films, Bad Girl Creek and Max Films production, in association with Brightstar, The New Zealand Film Commission, Cross City Films and BBC Film
Distribution Netflix


Jane Campion

The first female director to win the Palme D’Or for Best Film (for THE PIANO) at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival and one of only seven women ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, Jane Campion returns to feature film with THE POWER OF THE DOG, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi-Smit McPhee.
Campion wrote and directed THE PIANO which received more than 30 international awards and nine Academy Award® nominations, winning three awards including Best Screenplay. Other awards include Best Director from The New York Film Critics Circle, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Australian Film Critics, and nominations as Best Director from the Directors Guild of America, BAFTA, and Great Britain's Guild of Regional Film Writers. The film won Best Picture at the AFI Awards.
Campion’s short film Peel also won the Palme D’Or at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. She directed numerous award-winning short films before making her feature debut with Sweetie, which premiered in competition at Cannes. The film won the George Seoul Prize in 1989 for Best Foreign Film, the Los Angeles Film Critics' New Generation Award, the American Spirit of Independence Award for Best Foreign Feature and the Australian Critics Award for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress.
An Angel at My Table premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1990 where it won seven prizes, including The Silver Lion. It won the American Spirit of Independence Award, was awarded prizes at the Toronto and Berlin Film festivals and was voted most popular film at the 1990 Sydney Film Festival.
Campion’s feature films include The Portrait of a Lady which closed the Venice Film Festival in 1996, was nominated for two Academy Awards® and garnered the Francesco Pasinetti Award for Best Film by the National Union of Film Journalists; Holy Smoke (co-written with her sister Anna) and screened at Venice Film Festival, was nominated for Golden Lion and won the Elvira Notari Prize; In The Cut (co-written with Susanna Moore) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened the London Film Festival; Bright Star (writer/director) which screened in Official Competition in Cannes in 2009. Campion wrote and directed two short films, The Water Diary (2005), developed with the United Nations Development Program in order to promote the Millennium Development Goals campaign launched by Kofi Annan in 2000, and The Lady Bug (2006) commissioned by the Cannes Film Festival as a tribute to cinema for their 60th anniversary.
In 2012 Campion completed Top of the Lake, a six-hour miniseries for the BBC and The Sundance Channel which she created and wrote with her long-time collaborator, Gerard Lee. Campion also executive produced and directed three of the six episodes. Top of the Lake was the first television miniseries to screen at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. It received eight Emmy Award nominations and won for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie. Elisabeth Moss won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television. The miniseries also received recognition at BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Critics Choice Television Awards and PGA Awards. Campion created and teamed up with Gerard Lee to write Top of the Lake China Girl which aired in 2017. Campion executive produced and directed two of the six episodes. The series screened at the Cannes Film Festival as part of their 70th anniversary celebrations.
Campion was President of the International Jury of the 54th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica (Venice Film Festival). In 1997. She was awarded the Carosse D’or Prize by Societe de Realisateurs de Film in recognition of “innovative qualities, courage and independent mindedness” presented on the opening of Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. She was the President of the Jury at the 67th Festival de Cannes and was awarded the Legion of Honour from the French Cultural Minister in 2014. In 2016 Campion was appointed A Dame Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit and in 2019 she joined the World Cinema Dramatic Jury at the Sundance Film Festival.