Benedict Cumberbatch Defends 'The Power of the Dog' After Sam Elliott's Harsh Words

'The Power of the Dog'Credit: Netflix
Benedict Cumberbatch rebukes Sam Elliott's take on The Power of the Dog

Just last week, we covered Sam Elliott's weirdly aggressive take on The Power of the Dog, where he bemoaned the story's gay undertones and what Jane Campion had to say about the American west. It was a strange rant, one that people all over took umbrage with. But now, the star of the film, Benedict Cumberbatch, is speaking out. 

Cumberbatch was part of a recent BAFTA chat, and when Elliott's remarks came up, he didn't shy away from the confrontation.

You can listen to Cumbderbatch's remarks right around the 44-minute mark below. 

Cumberbatch said:

“I’m trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast over here. Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that … someone really took offense to—I haven’t heard it so it’s unfair for me to comment in detail on it—to the west being portrayed in this way.”

This was a polite way in, but Cumberbatch didn't mince his words, saying:

“Beyond that reaction, that sort of denial that anybody could have any other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they’re born, there’s also a massive intolerance within the world at large towards homosexuality still and towards an acceptance of the other and anything kind of difference. No more so than in this prism of conformity of what’s expected of a man in the Western archetype mold of masculinity. To deconstruct that through Phil, it’s not a history lesson.”

Going further, Cumberbatch explained why it's important we open the idea of the Old West to many different stories and characters.

He said that “these people still exist in our world. This is a very specific case of repression, but also due to an intolerance for that true identity that Phil is that he can’t fully be. 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.”

This direct answer is detailed and speaks so much to the idea that genres should not be rigid in form but can be bent and reimagined by the artists in control of the narrative.

It also confronts an antiquated look at sexuality and masculinity that feels stuck in the past and threatened by the happiness of others. Much like the characters and theme of this film!  

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.      

Your Comment


It's simply an overhyped awful movie

Made to appease the new Oscar voting crowd, who pick the films that they the think will make look cool.
The Oscar picks have been getting worse the last few years.
This year pretty much every Oscar favorite is dreadful.

Watched "Drive My Car" last night.
Wow. What a shit movie that is as well.

March 7, 2022 at 10:32AM


And the Oscar for "Entirely Missing the Point of the Article" goes to...

March 7, 2022 at 2:25PM, Edited March 7, 2:25PM

Jeff Payne

You really shouldn't need to 'defend' against an OPINION, just agree or disagree, .....where amazingly both can exist at once......if of course you DON'T want a self-righteous and idiotic fight while hoping to draw some attention to yourself (and currently sold product!)....nofilmschool is becoming a good name for this place while constantly scraping the barrel for its umm 'news' AND hits!

March 7, 2022 at 2:37PM