Netflix’s revisionist western, The Power of the Dog, is New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion’s masterpiece. With a staggering number of nominations at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, the film has been an award magnate, winning various other accolades.
A massive hit on Netflix, the film has sparked online discussion among film buffs and cinephiles and has received critical acclaim. Based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel, the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Kirsten Dunst. However, veteran western actor Sam Elliott called it a “piece of shit”. He did not hold back while lashing out against Campion and her film, questioning her knowledge about the American West.
On a podcast titled WTF with Marc Maron, the actor bashed the muted queer angle in the film, having a searing laugh at how the cowboys were “running around in chaps and no shirts”. He also seemed to have an issue with the “allusions of homosexuality throughout the fucking movie”.
While Cumberbatch shared an indirect, cryptic response to Elliott’s critique by bringing in the idea of heteronormativity and the “massive intolerance in the world at large towards homosexuality”, his co-star had a brilliant response to Elliott.
Former child actor Kodi Smit-McPhee played Peter, Dunst’s son in the film who has a thoughtfully layered relationship with Cumberbatch’s Phil, the epitome of jealousy, toxic masculinity, internalised homophobia etc.
In a Variety video, Smit-McPhee said that he would not respond to the comments as he is a “mature being”.
He said, “Nothing. ‘Cause I’m a mature being, and I’m passionate about what I do. And I don’t really give energy to anything outside of that.” In this significant clap-back, this Oscar-nominated actor also wished Elliott “good luck”.
Smit-McPhee has been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Award alongside Plemmons.
Take a look at his response below:
Kodi Smit-McPhee's response to Sam Elliott's criticism of #ThePowerOfTheDog? "Nothing. 'Cause I'm a mature being and I'm passionate about what I do. And I don't really give energy to anything outside of that." https://t.co/Ga9t3fqQgc pic.twitter.com/csAaXI25N0— Variety (@Variety) March 8, 2022