MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 3, 2021: THE POWER OF THE DOG

It has been 12 years since film titan Jane Campion released a feature film. Now, with The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand director shows she has lost not a step. Her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 Western novel offers the vivid landscapes and hothouse emotions reminiscent of the film that put her on the world map, The Piano (1993). A piano even serves as an important plot point.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2021: Ari Wegner, Cinematographer, THE POWER OF THE DOG and ZOLA

While she won’t speculate on her own awards prospects, Ari Wegner recently told me how happy she is to see the way women are now being more welcomed in the field of cinematography. She hopes this will continue to increase as female DPs start to see the recognition that has eluded them for so long. She discusses both the art and science of filmmaking with such a degree of passion and poetry, that her love for the medium is contagious. She is a leader, a champion, and a gifted artist, giving the world not only beautiful images, but a sense of hope and fascination too.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Sherin Nicole

You’ll keep waiting for the axe to fall…and it doesn’t…and it doesn’t…and the tension builds to the bursting point. Perfectly benign moments take on sinister hues in The Power of the Dog, you know something is deadly wrong, tensions hang over your head, and when the axe finally falls it’s a hell of a payoff.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Susan Granger

Utilizing myriad metaphors, writer/director Jane Campion (Oscar-winner for 1993’s The Piano) subtly crafts a kinky, compelling thriller, working with cinematographer Ari Wegner, who transforms New Zealand’s barren South Island into stark, sparsely populated Montana in 1925. Tt’s visually stunning with a spine-chilling score by Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Diane Carson

New Zealand director Jane Campion has a knack for isolating individuals in a remote, harsh location, applying pressure, and watching civilization unravel. That’s exactly what she does in The Power of the Dog, set on a vast Montana cattle ranch in 1925 where two brothers, the wife, and her son will become immersed in an unnerving psychological battle. The Power of the Dog is one of this year’s most haunting, well-executed films.

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JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Review by Martha K Baker

There is nothing pretty about Judas and the Black Messiah. It is, of necessity, a very dark movie, dark in its setting and lighting, and dark in the horrible history of J. Edgar Hoover against Blacks in general and, here, Fred Hampton in particular. Hoover called first for Hampton’s jailing and then for his killing. At 21.

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I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS – Review by Susan Granger

While writer/director Charlie Kaufman’s films –Syndoche, New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich and Adaptation – are, admittedly, an acquired taste, his latest venture into dual identities and dreamlike realities is his most eerie, abstract and confusing.

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I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS – Review by Sarah Ward

Its title is a statement of uncertainty, so it should come as no surprise that much is far from firm within I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Charlie Kaufman’s latest feature. Adapting the novel of the same name by Iain Reid, I’m Thing of Ending Things makes good on its moniker by letting its audience into the protagonist’s head — though not as literally as Being John Malkovich, nor as creatively as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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