Campion’s drama is nominated for 12 Oscars, more than any film this year. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a sadistic rancher who makes life hell for his new sister-in-law and her son in 1925 Montana. Elliott called the film a “piece of s–t” and seemed bothered by how the film deconstructs classic Western archetypes such as cowboys.
Elliott compared Campion’s cowboys to Chippendale dancers who “wear bow ties and not much else.”
“That’s what all these f—ing cowboys in that movie looked like,” Elliott said. “They’re running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie.”
Cumberbatch’s character is a closeted gay man in the film. Maron told Elliott that these themes are “what the movie is about,” but Elliott remained critical of Campion’s approach to the Western genre.
Elliott has starred in several Western projects throughout his career, including the recent Paramount Plus Yellowstone prequel series 1883.
“Where’s the Western in this Western?” Elliott asked. “I mean, Cumberbatch never got out of his f—ing chaps. He had two pairs of chaps — a woolly pair and a leather pair. And every f—ing time he would walk in from somewhere — he never was on a horse, maybe once — he’d walk into the f—ing house, storm up the f—ing stairs, go lay in his bed in his chaps and play his banjo. It’s like, what the f–k?”
Elliott said of Campion, “What the f–k does this woman from down there know about the American West? Why the f–k did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was? That f—ing rubbed me the wrong way.”
Elliott, who earned an Oscar nomination a few years back for his performance in A Star Is Born, added, “I just came from Texas where I was hanging out with families — not men — but families. Big, long, extended, multiple-generation families that made their living and their lives were all about being cowboys. And boy, when I f—ing saw that [movie], I thought, ‘What the f–k? Where are we in this world today?'”
The Power of the Dog is nominated for best picture and best director. Elliott did call Campion a “brilliant” filmmaker, despite not agreeing with her overall approach to the genre. The movie is now streaming on Netflix.
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