Flash Movie Review: The Power of the Dog

I HAVE NOT THOUGHT ABOUT HIM for decades. His hair matched his personality; it was bright, fire red. If memory serves me correctly, at one time he was the only redhead in the class. He could be so sweet in front of the teachers, flashing this smile that revealed a little space between his two front teeth that I assumed the teachers thought was adorable. Add in the two freckled fleshy cheeks with that smile and I am sure the teachers forgot what they were angry about in the first place. Little did they know; he could be equally mean. One time he was seated at his desk, quietly cutting with a pair of scissors, little bits of hair off the long-haired girl who was sitting in front of him. One of his favorite tricks to play was to break the ink cartridge inside of a pen and let the ink drop on the seat at a student’s desk; so, if the student did not notice, they would sit on the inked chair and stain their clothing. Doesn’t he sound like a real charmer? Luckily, he was not a fast runner so more times than not I was not the focus of his bullying. It was nothing for him to kick someone in the back to see them fall and that would include any animals that crossed his path.      MAYBE I AM STEREOTYPING, BUT IN my experiences most bullies were not sweet and charming. With them never being anything but mean, there was never an expectation that one would catch them at a kind moment and be given a pass. This red-haired student, in my opinion, was more lethal because his actions were intentional and thought out. He had to get some enjoyment out of inflicting harm on other people, where someone who was always mean may not be aware, they are doing anything wrong or “bad.” Take it from me, there is nothing worse than sitting in class next to a known bully or mean kid because the entire time is spent keeping one eye on them in a state of perpetual dread, that something awful was about to happen. I am remembering how uncomfortable I was sitting in the classroom, not that the classroom was the only place where harm could befall me. The locker room in the gym was always a fertile place where bullies would rule. My vivid memory of this red -haired student appeared shortly after I saw the main character in this dramatic, western romance.      TWO BROTHERS RUNNING THEIR CATTLE RANCH together face a change when one of them becomes fond of a widow. With Benedict Cumberbatch (The Courier, Doctor Strange) as Phil Burbank, Kirsten Dunst (The Beguiled, Little Women) as Rose Gordon, Jesse Plemons (The Irishman, I’m Thinking of Ending Things) as George Burbank, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, The Road) as Peter Gordon and Sean Keenan (Glitch-TV, Lockie Leonard-TV) as Sven; the acting in this film was spectacular to the point where I felt Oscar nominations would be in store for some of the actors. The scenery, the music and the wonderful direction of scenes made this such an entertaining movie watching experience for me. The story’s pace was done in a slow and deliberate pace, where I found myself uneasy, as if there was going to be some impending doom taking place. This reaction was almost visceral for me, due to Benedict’s character. I especially enjoyed the way the director kept things at a minimum when it came to the actors. Instead of trying to manipulate the viewers’ emotions, she let the actors show their feelings in a look or gaze; it was effective. I also was surprised on how the story turned out; but it made perfect sense to me. This was an amazing film that, as I said earlier, should be a participant in this year’s Oscars’ ceremony.

3 ½ stars  

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on December 15, 2021, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the review. I will check this out.

    • Good luck and hope you have a similar reaction.

      • I watched this movie last night and I honestly have mixed feelings about it. I thought the performances were incredible and definitely deserving of awards season buzz. I also thought the directing and cinematography were top notch. Where I think the film let me down is that it did not lean quite enough into the darker elements of the story. I suspect this is a product of the time in which the source novel was written but I think the themes and aspects of character would have been more complex and there would have been greater ambiguity about certain character actions and ambivalent reactions to them as people had the movie taken some of those darker elements a bit further.

      • I agree with you; I took it as the movie version was more palatable than the source material. I am glad you got to see it because I do believe there are some nominations due here so far.

        Have a safe and happy holiday season.

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