Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house. Written by
Andrew Hyatt <email@example.com>
So you think movies are violent today, huh? Think again. Sam Peckinpah's highly charged, extremely intense, brutally violent 1971 pic is an underrated masterpiece, in my opinion, that redefined cinema violence forever (as if "The Wild Bunch" wasn't enough). It is one of the best directed, most fluidly edited pictures that I've seen in recent years. Today's films don't even come close.
Allegedly banned in the U.K. to this very day, "Straw Dogs" came to me out of nowhere. I had heard good things about it, but never really caught onto it, until one day when I was at a video store browsing around for no apparent reason. I had absolutely no money and wasn't planning to buy anything when all of the sudden, I saw it . . .
I had never even seen the movie and I wanted to buy it! I mean, hey, it WAS the last one left.
So I took a huge risk, got a loan from my mother, used all the two-dollar bills I had been saving to pay her back, and bought it right out. And then, I viewed it later on that night, praying I hadn't wasted my time. AND: I was floored. The film literally knocked me out, kept me peeled to the screen at every instant, left me disturbed for days to come. I mean, let me tell you, go out and rent this, buy this, anything, just see it! Although it is moderately paced, the film remains intense the whole way, and takes an unexpected turn into extreme violence towards the legendary ending, a showdown worthy of multiple viewings (watch "Fear" to see an amateur retread).
So it goes like this: Hoffman plays a wimpy mathematician who flees with his wife George to the peaceful countryside (to get away from violence!), only to be ravaged by the locals who just wanna start trouble. It is the ultimate test of manhood, showing us (in a somewhat biased manner) that it takes aggression to get what you want and keep what you have. You'll be amazed at Hoffman's "transformation" (we all know deep down that EVERYONE'S got it in them somewhere), but it makes you think, especially when Hoffman has to defend his home from several large armed men WITHOUT USING ANY WEAPONS, only his brains and some household appliances.
I'm surprised that this is such a forgotten film. There aren't enough people who can actually claim to have seen this picture or even know what it's about. I find that hard to ingest, being that it was one of the most controversial films of its day. But it IS very brutal, especially the once trimmed rape scene, restored on my copy, a scene that I find to be the most intense. However, today's moviegoers may not agree.
So see "Straw Dogs," the movie that single-handedly turned me into a Peckinpah fan. The editing is Oscar-worthy, the acting is magnificent, the situations are well thought out, and the characters are fleshed to the bone (sometimes literally). I promise you won't leave disappointed.
#5 on my Top 200 List, **** outta **** on my personal scale.
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