Who Killed Phil in The Power of the Dog
Who Killed Phil in The Power of the Dog? (Image Via Netflix)

Who Killed Phil in The Power of the Dog?

Last Updated on December 4, 2021 by Joydeep Ghosh

The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion is a perfect western drama based on toxic masculinity.

This toxic masculinity leads to several other things like emotional cruelty, threatens of violence and even mockery.

The story takes place in 1925 in Montana when the age of Frontier exploration has just come to an end.

People were then looking for more civilized ways of living.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, Phil Burbank, is a man who is not fit for the period in which he is living.

Then comes his brother George, played by Jesse Plemons, who is stunning and perfectly dressed.

We see that George finally marries Rose Gordon, played by Kristen Dunstable, a widow.

At the end of The Power of the Dog, we see Phil getting killed by Peter, her son.

If you want to know more about the movie, you have landed in the perfect article.

There will be several spoilers up ahead, so proceed with caution.

The Power of the Dog
The Power of the Dog (Image Via Netflix)

Why does Peter end Phil with Anthrax in The Power of the Dog?

When the film starts, we get to see George and Phil.

Phil seems to be constantly angry and frustrated because he has not explored his sexuality.

He finds his victim is his brother, George. Phil expresses it towards George through insults thrown at his intelligence and weight.

Phil also has this habit of lashing out at anything that is not strong.

As the movie proceeds, we find that both Peter and Rose would come out as the easier targets for Phil.

When Phil was invited to Rose’s dinner, we saw him lashing out and being extremely harsh and cruel.

Phil did not understand that George ultimately had to be the one who had to go and apologize to everyone for Phil’s ruthless behaviour.

Phil and George finally get close to each other, and it is at that time that George tells him that he is about to get married to Rose.

Phil and George have a huge house to stay in, but arrangements have been made to only one room with a twin bed.

The director has beautifully portrayed the co-dependence that the brothers have between themselves.

The seduced existence that they once shared was longer there when Rose finally entered their house as George’s wife.

Phil became furious because he felt as if he was left behind.

He starts making Rose feel emotionally disturbed until Rose finds her way to escape through this in alcohol.

In The Power of the Dog, we see that Peter comes to visit her mother and he feels devastated seeing his mother in the way she is at present.

He understands that he has a big job at hand; otherwise, his mother will walk the same steps as his father.

We notice that throughout the runtime of The Power of the Dog, no one pays much heed to the abilities in Peter.

Peter is a tall and skinny boy who would not make anyone feel scared of him or even respect him for being a dependable person.

But as we see in The Power of the Dog, Peter is not even interested in all that. All he wants is his mother’s life to be better.

He does not want his mother to be the constant target of emotional assaults. He wants his mother to lead a life free from any fear.

Peter understands how Phil operates, and then he uses that same procedure to manipulate an older man.

He can finally see through Phil’s boldness and understand that his life is filled with several disappointments.

Peter then finds the corpse of a cattle affected by Anthrax and carefully skins it.

Rose had sold off the cowhide that was there in the ranch.

When Phil was looking for one, Peter handed him over the one he had made.

Phil does not understand the trap in which the boy wants to drag him in and becomes very impressed with him.

At dawn, we get to see that Phil has been infected with Anthrax, and he then realizes the true intentions of Peter.

He had carefully avoided getting affected by Anthrax throughout his entire life.

Peter had this knowledge and used this as a tool.

Another reason Peter could have used Anthrax as a tool was to save him from being caught for Phil’s murder.

At the end of The Power of the Dog, Peter ultimately proves that he is the alpha male dog over there.