When revenge leads to peace in ‘Power of the Dog’

Kodi Smit-Mcphee as Peter walks away with a dog in “The Power of the Dog.”
“He knows he and his mother have suffered so much, and now, there’s an absolute peace falling over the whole property,” says cinematographer Ari Wegner of Peter, played by Kodi Smit-Mcphee in “The Power of the Dog.”
(Netflix)
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There’s an unpretentious beauty that resonates in each frame of director Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” a dark, thoughtful tale that explores inexpressible emotions and their consequences with a pensive pace. The period piece brings to life Thomas Savage’s novel of the same name, which follows a rancher’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) unnerving intimidation of his brother’s (Jesse Plemons) wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). When Peter finds his revenge, an almost angelic calmness shines down from the sun — a moment of clarity where he can collect his thoughts. “He knows he and his mother have suffered so much, and now, there’s an absolute peace falling over the whole property,” says cinematographer Ari Wegner. “The emotions for him are a moment of relief and exhale — that something new is starting — and there’s respectful melancholy in the way he’s interacting with the dog. It’s not joyful, it’s not celebratory. It’s transcendent in its energy, and I really love this moment in the film.”