'No harm in looking': When Benedict Cumberbatch defended 'The Power of the Dog' against Elliott's Scathing review!
After a controversial review by Sam Elliott, Benedict Cumberbatch rose to defend 'The Power of the Dog'. Addressing the themes of homosexuality and toxic masculinity, the film received 12 Oscar nods, now streaming on Netflix
Benedict Cumberbatch (Source: NBC News)
"Deconstructing the Cowboy: Cumberbatch on 'The Power of the Dog' & The Elliot Controversy!"
A year ago, in a storm of controversy, The Power of the Dog saw its staunchest defender in none other than its star, Benedict Cumberbatch. Challenging criticisms made by actor Sam Elliott, who unabashedly labeled the film a “piece of shit” due to its “allusions of homosexuality”, Cumberbatch took a stand for the Oscar-nominated drama and its portrayal of a closeted gay rancher in 1925 Montana.
"I'm trying very hard not to say anything..."
In a BAFTA Film Sessions interview, Cumberbatch gracefully responded, "I’m trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction." He further highlighted society's existing intolerance toward "anything kind of different" and expressed the importance of looking beyond heteronormative perspectives.
Elliott's Take & the Reshaping of Western Archetypes
Elliot's criticisms, which gained momentum after his remarks on Marc Maron’s “WTF” Podcast, mainly centered on the film’s deconstruction of classic Western archetypes. The veteran actor went as far as likening Jane Campion’s cowboys to Chippendale dancers, adding, "They’re running around in chaps and no shirts. There are all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the movie."
However, Cumberbatch remained unwavering in his defense of the film and its characters, stating, "These people still exist in our world." He spoke poignantly about the depth of his character Phil, touching upon issues of repression, intolerance, and the damaging impact of toxic masculinity.
"The more we look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to discover the root causes of it, the bigger chances we have of dealing with it when it arises with our children," Cumberbatch astutely noted.
In an impressive culmination to the debate, The Power of the Dog bagged an astonishing 12 Academy Award nominations, standing tall as the most nominated film of the year. As it took over streaming giant Netflix, it continued to spark conversations on masculinity, identity, and acceptance.
If you wish to deep dive into the debate, catch Benedict Cumberbatch’s full BAFTA Film Sessions interview and see for yourself why The Power of the Dog remains a masterclass in filmmaking, storytelling, and acting, even a year after its release.
(Several parts of the text in this article, including the title, were generated with the help of an AI tool.)