Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Straw Dogs

A pacifistic mathematician receives a research grant and leaves turmoil ridden America with his wife to live in the British countryside where she grew up. In their pastoral and seemingly peaceful village they receive increasingly alarming harassment from the locals which builds up into a situation where he must embrace the harsh violence he has so vehemently rejected. Straw Dogs is another take on the subject of violence by Sam Peckinpah, the director who was so consumed by it and determined to see its true nature presented on the screen. Dustin Hoffman delivers a stellar and totally identifiable performance as we watch his character's journey from cowardice to courageousness as he endures torment not only from the vicious townspeople but also from his tempestuous wife. The movie is thoroughly engaging and several segments grab hold of your attention like few films I seen. Some scenes do get out of hand, such as the extended rape scene, which shows Peckinpah's misogynistic side, and the final scene in which Hoffman defends his house, which although satisfying, is overly violent and counteracts the rest of the more subtle film. Straw Dogs is absorbing statement on violence containing a decisive performance from Dustin Hoffman which should speak to anyone who watches it.