Sam Elliott calls Jane Campion’s ‘The Power Of The Dog’ a “piece of shit”

“Where is the western in this western?”

Sam Elliott has criticised Jane Campion’s Oscar-nominated film The Power Of The Dog, branding it a “piece of shit”.

The actor, known for roles in numerous westerns and recently 2018’s A Star Is Born, appeared on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF With Marc Maron (February 28) when conversation turned to some of 2021’s film releases.

Asked his thoughts on The Power Of The Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Elliott said: “Yeah, you want to talk about that piece of shit?”


Elliott’s negative reaction was further spurred by an article in the LA Times which “talked about the evisceration of the American myth” in relation to the film. “And I thought: ‘What the fuck’,” Elliott said.

The Power Of The Dog
Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons in ‘The Power Of The Dog’ CREDIT: Moviestore Collection/Alamy

He went onto compare the film’s characters to Chippendales dancers who “wear bowties and not much else”.

“That’s what all these fucking cowboys in that movie looked like,” Elliott said. “They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie.”

When Maron noted homosexuality is “what the movie’s about”, Elliott criticised director Jane Campion’s interpretation of the American west.

Describing her as “a brilliant director” before making his point, Elliott said: “What the fuck does this women from down there [New Zealand] know about the American west? Why the fuck did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was? That fucking rubbed me the wrong way.


“The myth is that [cowboys] were these macho men out there with the cattle. 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 fucking saw that [movie], I thought, ‘What the fuck’.”

When Maron tried to defend the film, Elliott responded: “I mean, Cumberbatch never got out of his fucking chaps. He had two pairs of chaps – a woolly pair and a leather pair. And every fucking time he would walk in from somewhere – he was never on a horse, maybe once – he’d walk in the fucking house, storm up the fucking stairs, go lay in his bed, in his chaps and play the banjo.

“And it’s like, ‘What the fuck?’ Where is the western in this western?”

The Power Of The Dog follows charismatic rancher Phil Burbank (Cumberbatch), who torments his younger brother George (Jesse Plemons) when George brings home his new wife Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst).

The film has been nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Cumberbatch. The 94th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 27.