Benedict Cumberbatch Hits Back at 'Power of the Dog' Criticism

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Benedict Cumberbatch has reacted to criticism about his Oscar-nominated Western drama The Power of the Dog.

Speaking as part of BAFTA's Film Sessions, which took place on Friday (March 4), Cumberbatch addressed why it's relevant to explore a character like Phil Burbank nowadays.

During his answer, however, Cumberbatch made specific reference to veteran actor Sam Elliott's recent criticism of the movie.

The Doctor Strange star began by explaining there's so many [Phil Burbanks] in the world. And in order for feminism to be achieved, we must "look under the hood" of characters like [him] to "see what their struggle is and why that's there in the first place".

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Related: The Power of the Dog ending explained – what that final scene truly implies

But before continuing his answer, the actor paused to acknowledge Elliott's controversial views on the way the West is portrayed in the movie.

"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," he said.

"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."

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Related: Benedict Cumberbatch on the sexual nature of his The Power of the Dog costume

He continued: "These people still exist in our world. Whether it's on our doorstep or whether it's down the road or whether it's someone we meet in a bar or pub or on the sports field, there is aggression and anger and frustration and an inability to control or know who you are in that moment that causes damage to that person and, as we know, damage to those around them. "

Returning to his original answer, Cumberbatch concluded: "There's no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that. 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."

You Might Also Like