If you loved Jane Campion’s newest film The Power of The Dog, you are not alone. The Netflix movie has been awarded by several bodies including the Golden Globes, the Directors Guild of America, the BAFTAs, and many critics’ associations. And while there is still a while until Oscars night, The Power of the Dog currently stands as one of the front-runners to take the biggest award in the film industry.
The Power of the Dog is a visually stunning and emotionally poignant film that slowly builds tension to show us the tragic story of a man who cannot accept his identity and therefore terrorizes those around him. As we wrote at MovieWeb, Campion’s Oscar-worthy feature is “exquisitely crafted and framed, executed by a filmmaker at her fiercest, most razor-sharp, and unforgiving.”
So, if you are one of the many people who loved The Power of The Dog, here are a few films you might also love:
6 The Piano
If you enjoyed Jane Campion’s directorial vision in The Power of The Dog, you cannot miss her work in The Piano. Released in 1993, the film tells the story of a mute Scottish woman who travels to a remote part of New Zealand with her young daughter after her arranged marriage to a frontiersman. The film shows Campion at her best: exquisite shots, subtle but intense storytelling, and an array of strong performances by Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, and Sam Neill. With this film, Campion proved her skill at balancing the icy formalism of period pieces with the fiery interiority of female characters.
The Piano was a critical and commercial success, grossing $140 million worldwide against just a $7 million budget. In 1993, the film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, making Campion the first female director to ever receive the award, and it received three Oscars: Best Actress for Hunter, Best Supporting Actress for Paquin and Best Original Screenplay for Campion. Paquin was 11 years old at the time and remains the second-youngest actor to win an Oscar.
If you liked the Western elements of The Power of The Dog, you should check out Unforgiven from 1992. Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, the film tells the story of William Munny, an aging killer who takes on one last job after being retired for many years. Interestingly, Unforgiven was supposed to be Eastwood’s last stint as a cowboy, which means that he gave a fantastic performance. But like The Power of the Dog, Unforgiven is not your typical western.
Eastwood’s film questions the stereotypical portrayals of the Wild West by subverting the violent mythology that characterized the genre during the 20th century. Rotten Tomatoes calculated a 96% approval rating for the film and its critical consensus states that “as both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.”
4 Brokeback Mountain
If you are interested in the themes of queerness and identity in The Power of The Dog, there is no better film than Brokeback Mountain. Directed by Ang Lee, this tragic story follows two sheepherders in 1960s Montana who fall in love with each other while working in a secluded mountain. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the bashful Jack Twist while Heath Ledger plays the cautious Ennis del Mar and both lovers have to battle societal and personal prejudices regarding homosexuality, as they live in a masculine-driven world of rodeos, cowboys, and violence.
Brokeback Mountain helped queer the mainstream. Like Campion’s film, Brokeback Mountain uses a hyper-masculine backdrop to raise interesting questions about the limits of sexual orientation and the noxious effects of rigid gender norms. Ultimately, both films show how internalized homophobia leads to violence and cruelty. It is a gentle, romantic, and emotional tale set in a beautiful landscape, so it should appeal to all fans of Campion’s work.
3 There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson’s film deal with themes of toxic masculinity and poisonous relationships. In There Will Be Blood, Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis construct a fascinating character in Daniel Plainview, a domineering, aggressive alpha male who lacks empathy for the suffering of other people. Like Phil Burbank in The Power of the Dog, this character serves as a window into the soul of hyperbolic masculinity; they both show us how these kinds of behavior often mask underlying insecurities and desires. In fact, Benedict Cumberbatch compared the two films in an interview with W Magazine, where he said that “The Power of the Dog [as a Western] is closer to There Will Be Blood. It’s about a period of transition. It’s about a move from a more analog, animal, manpower-driven era into mechanization.”
2 The Beguiled
If you were also transfixed by Kirsten Dunst’s performance as Rose Gordon, you should watch The Beguiled. Directed by Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled is an adaptation of a Civil War novel by Thomas P. Cullinan, and Don Siegel’s 1971 film version starring Clint Eastwood. An injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell) finds shelter when he’s taken into a girls’ school. Soon enough, they are all entangled in a web of seduction and deceit that sets the stage for a thrilling and darkly comic climax. The Beguiled is a very interesting dissection of dangerous desires and isolation that culminates similarly to The Power of the Dog. The film shows Dunst at her most subtle and impressionistic, which recalls her fantastic, Oscar-nominated work in Campion’s film.
1 The Imitation Game
If you loved Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance, you have to check out his work in The Imitation Game. Starring Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch, this historical drama is loosely based on the life of Alan Turing, a queer British mathematician and codebreaker who helped crack the Nazi code and lead the allies to victory. However, Turing is poorly repaid for his efforts as his sexuality is discovered at a time when being gay was illegal, which threatens to destroy his reputation and livelihood. The Imitation Game was many Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. The film led to the installation of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, colloquially referred to as the Alan Turing Law which pardons all men convicted under the legislation that outlawed ‘homosexual acts.’