The Power of the Dog: Netflix Movie Title Explained

In recent years, Netflix has released some incredibly anticipated movies in movie circles.

Of Irish To I think to end things, the streaming service has released films by some of the most acclaimed filmmakers of our time.

The latest to make waves on the platform is The Power of the Dog by prestigious New Zealand director Jane Campion.

This great Western drama is based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Netflix audiences were treated to it on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 after making waves at the 78th Venice International Film Festival and a brief theatrical release.

Since then, audiences have found themselves trying to dissect the film’s title. So what does The Power of the Dog mean?


from The Power of the Dog trailer, Netflix

Meaning of dog power

The title of the film is inspired by the Bible, borrowing from Psalm 22:20, when Jesus suffers on the cross.

It reads: “Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of dogs.” “

In a conversation with IndieWire, Jane Campion took the time to explain why she had chosen him:

“As the title stands, it’s kind of a warning. The power of the dog is all these cravings, all these deep and uncontrollable urges that can come and destroy us, you know?

She used Donald Trump as an example: “Like, when things weren’t going well for him, he melted. He couldn’t even say the words “I lost”. He created this massive fiction. Even saying the word “fail” is just not an option for someone like him, for those kinds of men. “

The film doesn’t explicitly address the meaning of its title, but there are a number of other intriguing ways to interpret it as well …

The power of the dog | Official trailer | Netflix



The power of the dog | Official trailer | Netflix





Exploring the meaning of the movie title

Basically we can also look at what the dog can represent in the movies and in society in general.

The animal and its image often carry connotations of loyalty and trust; camaraderie is also an important element to remember. These are themes that Jane Campion’s film explores.

However, dogs also possess negative connotations which arguably best help audiences understand the importance of the film’s title. At the heart of the narrative is Phil Burbank (played by Benedict Cumberbatch).

Dogs can sometimes be associated with ferocity. They are likely to cause serious harm by dissociating themselves from their victims or, ultimately, from the repercussions of their acts.

In this sense, the dog’s violent and animal nature parallels Phil’s toxic masculinity.

Phil is a closed-minded homosexual and his masculine demeanor can be interpreted as a way to avoid arousing suspicion from those around him, and the film can be a read of a study on masculinity.

Moreover, and more simply, what is a dog? Quiet, just as Phil talks about his true nature.

Was it derived from a poem?

As The Focus points out, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called The Power Of The Dog in 1922.

Although he focuses his lens on the relationship between man and animal, there is no reason to believe that the subject of the poem had a direct influence on the film.

The Power of the Dog is now streaming on Netflix.

In other news, Where to Watch Drive My Car: Is The 2021 Movie Streaming?

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