‘The Power of the Dog’ Finale Explained: Jane Campion’s West Comes With A Dark Twist

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The power of the dog, which is currently streaming on Netflix as well as in theaters, seems like a subtle but slow-moving character study for much of the movie. But in the last 15 minutes of Jane Campioncritically acclaimed Western, the plot suddenly came into play. What you think is merely a haunting slice of life suddenly feels like a horror movie, because The power of the dog The ending comes with a complicated plot that will leave the audience reeling.

The story is based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage. Savage was a gay man – although not openly at the time – who based parts of the plot and characters on his own experiences as a teenager growing up on a farm in… Montana. That said, the story remains largely fictional – or, at least, so one hopes.

The power of the dog The ending is shockingly dark, and Campion – who both directed and adapted the screenplay from Savage’s novel – doesn’t explain exactly what will happen to viewers. If you don’t pay close attention, you may have missed some key details. Don’t worry, Decider is here to help. Continue reading for The power of the dog plot summary and The power of the dog End of explanation.


Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Burbank (Jesse Plemons) are wealthy ranchers in Montana in 1925. One day, their job takes them and their crew to an inn owned by Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst), a gentle widow. George likes Rose. He tries to make up for his evil-hearted brother – who openly mocks Rose’s weak-looking son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) – by helping her in the kitchen.

George and Rose fall in love and get married. Rose and Peter move out of the inn and onto the farm. Phil Burbank, feeling abandoned by his brother, is ruthlessly cruel to Rose at all times, and sends her out drinking. After Peter returns home for the summer – where he is studying to be a doctor – Rose is an alcoholic.

One day, Peter discovers Phil’s nude photos of men, and finds Phil bathing naked with the handkerchief of “Bronco Henry,” the mentor Phil often talks about. Phil sees Peter spying on him and sends him away, but after the incident, Phil and Peter form a strange friendship, much to Rose’s dismay.

Phil started making ropes for Peter by braiding cowhides together and helping Peter learn how to ride a horse. During one of these sessions, Peter happened to ask how some calves died — was it wolves? Phil replied that yes, sometimes wolves kill calves, and sometimes calves die of anthrax, an infectious disease. Peter, armed with this knowledge, makes a solo trip into the mountains, where he finds a calf that has died of an illness. Peter, wearing protective gloves, carefully removed the skin of the sick calf. Then Phil takes Peter out for a ride to fix the fence. While playing with a rabbit, Phil suffered a deep wound to his hand. (Remember both of these details for later!)

Rose’s drinking continued to get worse. When she heard that Phil Burbank was planning to burn his excess skin instead of selling it to the Native Americans, she defiantly, passionately traded all the cowhide to the tribe leader for a pair of gloves. When Phil realizes that all of his hide is gone, he is furious – he now doesn’t have enough material left to complete Peter’s rope.

Peter provided the cowhide he had gone alone to Phil. When Phil asked why Peter had cowhide, Peter replied that he cut some off because he wanted to look like Phil. Phil is overwhelmed by Peter’s kindness and promises to work through the night to complete the rope. Phil washes an open wound on Peter’s cowhide, unaware that it comes from a sick cow. Phil tells Peter the story of the time Bronco Henry saved his life by pressing their bodies together while they slept to keep him warm in the extreme cold. Peter asks if they sleep naked, and Phil laughs but doesn’t answer.



The next morning, Phil didn’t come down for breakfast. George found him in his bed, sweaty and feverish. The wound on his hand was clearly infected. George takes the car to take Phil to the doctor, but Phil doesn’t want to leave before he finds Peter and gives him the rope. Phil staggered around with the rope in hand, before he finally allowed George to lead him into the car. Peter watched them leave from his window.

In the next scene, Phil is dead, and George is taking his coffin. At the funeral, Rose shares a beautiful moment with her mother-in-law, and George invites his parents home for Christmas – implying that the family will now be able to live in peace with Phil gone. The coroner told George that he thought Phil died of anthrax poisoning, which confused George, as he knew his brother had always refused to handle sick animals.

Peter did not attend Phil’s funeral. Instead, he finds and reads a scripture at home. Psalm 22:20: “Deliver my soul, O my love, from the sword and from the power of dogs.” He watched from the window as Rose – now sober – returned with George from the funeral. He smiles when he sees them kiss, and from that smile you just know that Peter is responsible for Phil’s death.


Interpret the ending as you please, but I mean Peter saw what his uncle Phil was doing to his mother, and knew she would never stop drinking as long as Phil was here to torment him. she. When he realized Phil was gay, he purposely used this knowledge to get closer to him. Perhaps he had always meant to thread the sick cowhide into the supply of ropes he was making for Phil, and when his mother sold all the hides, he saw the perfect opportunity to swoop in. entered and intentionally infected Phil’s open wound.

It was odd, but Peter was right – with Phil away, both his mother and George seemed much happier. Sometimes being a good son means poisoning your abusive uncle with anthrax!

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https://decider.com/2021/12/01/power-of-the-dog-ending-explained-plot-twist-meaning/ ‘The Power of the Dog’ Finale Explained: Jane Campion’s West Comes With A Dark Twist


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