See Benedict Cumberbatch As A Threatening Cowboy In The Power of the Dog Trailer

A new trailer is here for Benedict Cumberbatch's powerful western drama The Power of the Dog!

By Carolyn Jenkins | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

benedict cumberbatch the power of the dog

When Benedict Cumberbatch is not playing Sorcerer Supreme Stephen Strange, he is returning to his independent film roots. Cumberbatch’s next film is titled The Power of the Dog in what appears to be a terrifying portrayal of life on the ranch. In the new teaser trailer for the film shown on Deadline, Cumberbatch plays rancher Phil Burbank.

Those unfamiliar with Benedict Cumberbatch’s work beyond Doctor Strange or even Sherlock may be disturbed at this gritty character. Phil appears to be a rough and at times sadistic cowboy in the trailer. When Phil’s brother George (Jesse Plemons) finds the affections of a widow, the characters are subjected to the torment of the cowboy. You can watch the trailer below.

Jane Campion is set to direct the film. Based on her previous work, Campion should be a good match with Benedict Cumberbatch. The New Zealand director has a habit of making films with deep emotional elements. She has been behind many eerily beautiful works such as Bright Star and mystery series Top of the Lake. She also won an Academy Award for writing The Piano. The Piano has similarities to The Power of the Dog on a surface level. Like her more recent film, The Piano is a romance that takes a brutal turn.

The Power of the Dog trailer shows brutality and implies something more. Throughout the trailer, Phil Burbank whistles a haunting and foreboding tune as the rest of the characters seem to be under emotional distress. The film is based on a 1968 novel written by Thomas Savage and details the story of the cold ranch owner that is thrown out of his element when interacting with his brother’s wife.

Benedict Cumberbatch has experience in the indie film genre and has played complex characters before. Fans may not remember his small but disconcerting role in Joe Wright’s period piece Atonement. The film was notable for casting Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy as the leads. The film follows Briony — played by a young Saoirse Ronan — in World War II era England. Briony sees an interaction between her sister Cecilia and her lover and misunderstands it for assault. This mirrors an unrelated incident involving Benedict Cumberbatch’s character Paul Marshall. Though a friend of the family, Marshall is guilty of assaulting a young girl. Cumberbatch’s portrayal is concise but haunting. 

Benedict Cumberbatch has also appeared in emotional roles such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Parade’s End. These roles have showcased Cumberbatch’s dramatic acting ability and are a precursor for what is to come in The Power of the Dog. Cumberbatch is a versatile actor who has had a wide variety of roles. While most are excited to see him reprise his role as Dr. Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home and eventually Doctor Strange 2, this new film is a good palate cleanser for those with Marvel fatigue. The Power of the Dog also features real life spouses Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemmons as the remaining leads. The film will be available in select theaters Wednesday, November 17, and will stream on Netflix Wedensday, December 1st.