The Power of the Dog

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Two calves butt heads just long enough for momma cow to move in and drive them apart. Even Hitchcock couldn’t have directed cattle to perform with such unrehearsed ease, yet it’s a wise director who sees in this happy accident a foreboding preamble for the tension to come. Montana, 1925. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Phil, a hare-triggered cattle rancher who considers his partner/brother George (Jesse Plemons) a bit of a dim bulb, and rightfully so. George answers to “fatso” and while the mountain range outside his front door packs more wisdom and personality than he, there’s a method to his blandness. George’s unexpected marriage to a local cook (Kirsten Dunst) — she comes with a callow teenage son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in tow — acts as a springboard for Phil’s hostility. It’s been 12 years (!) since last we saw a feature from Jane Campion (Sweetie, The Piano). While this may not spark the emotional connection found in her best work, the performances are uniformly attuned to their surroundings and it’s shot in a part of the world where there is no such thing as a bad angle. Leave it to Campion to find the best. (2021) — Scott Marks

Rated R | 2 hours, 7 minutes
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Showtimes

Landmark Hillcrest
3965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 619-298-2904 | Directions
Thursday, December 2
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
Friday, December 3
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
Saturday, December 4
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
Sunday, December 5
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
Monday, December 6
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
Tuesday, December 7
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
Wednesday, December 8
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
Thursday, December 9
1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:40pm
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