Benedict Cumberbatch is back, and how. Here he is in The Power of the Dog, a new Netflix flick, shirtless at times, running amok nude, with a full-frontal scene that has the pause button on the remote press itself. For all the Cumberbitches out there – about whom he once said in his Cumberbatchy way: ‘Oh, it’s very flattering, but I just wish they’d call themselves something more respectable like Cumberhumans’ – this is more of him they can handle.
From his early Sherlock days, when he was sprung on us with such wit and elan, to The Imitation Game, where he leached all our sympathy for his secretive sexuality, from being Doctor Strange who goes on inter-galactic trips to a Grinch who hates Christmas, Benedict has been an audio-visual treat top to bottom. And now his top and bottom get their due – as if therein too he is trying to right the sexism of nudity being traditionally female.
This new film of his, which perhaps takes his private angst from The Imitation Game to a new level, is all about an artist going all out for his art. Unlike say a Tom Cruise who is stuck in a cinematic traffic jam of sorts as a result of a carefully but boringly curated career, Ben has a yen for the unusual, his curiosity in turn infecting us.