1971 psychological thriller film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George Website
Approval Rate: 53%
I didn't really appreciate this movie until several viewings when a good print of this film finally came out on DVD. Since then, even a better one came out on Criterion and who knows, maybe we'll even get a great Blu-Ray transfer some day. The old VHS tapes of this film were awful. I have to admit: watching Susan George is one of the big enjoyments of this movie. She is hot! In reality, it's doubtful someone like her would marry a nerd like the character played by Dustin Hoffman, although that "nerd" comes out of his shell in the suspense-filled last half hour. This is one of those early `70 films that broke ground and shocked a lot of people. It's still an intense, uncomfortable movie, some 38 years after it was first released.
This is a shattering flick if you have never seen it. First of all casting Dustin Hoffman in this movie was a stroke of genius. The luscious unknown, Susan George, was another. Poor dweeb, Hoffman, flees America to escape violence and lands in rustic Cornwall in the west of England seeking shelter. Director Sam Peckinpah makes sure that Dustin doesn't find it. If you like people holed up in the fort with Indians riding around shooting, then this is the film for you. It is a common Hollywood theme, but often works well.
The whole time I sat through `Straw Dogs' I was uncomfortable; not in a bad way though. Director Sam Peckinpah does a phenomenal job of making every sequence feel more and more unnerving, even if the violence and terror doesn't truly take place until the tale end of the film. You feel dirty, almost as if you were a voyeur taking a peek in on the lives of this beautifully conflicted couple as they expose themselves to you; flaws and all. You feel like the enemy. The film tells the story of David and Amy Sumner, a young couple who moves to rural England while David is on sabbatical. Amy once grew up in the small town, and her new husband, the book smart yet socially clueless mathematician, is less than welcomed by the community. As David immerses himself in his work his relationship with his wife begins to strain until she finds herself taunting the eyes of a local ex-boyfriend who happens to be helping fix up the Sumner's home. This teasing can only go so far before it take... Read more
Eerie and disconcerting from the very first frame. Director/Co-Writer Peckinpah creates a strange alternative universe where people act on their base impulses. A stuffy professor (Dustin Hoffman) and his gorgeous young wife (Susan George) are thrown into this world and almost destroyed by it. Peckinpah creates a rich tapestry of characters and brilliantly explores the subtle and occasionally explosives shifts in power between them. The high-minded sophistication of film-making belies the outwardly lurid nature of the subject - "Deliverance" springs to mind as another example of this. Stunning in every department - acting (especially by Hoffman and George), editing, writing, music, cinematography, and of-course direction. In many ways Peckinpah's best film. The DVD version I have (Region 4) also features: - Interviews - Commentaries - Standalone musical score
Two thoroughly unappealing characters are for some reason married to each other and take up residence in her UK home town which is seemingly populated by even less appealing, drooling, drinking thugs. The whole thing just runs on for way too long. How George and Hoffman ever ended up together is a mystery that perhaps only Lolita could understand. There is a fairly grpahic "sort-of rape" which is never brought up between the husband and wife after it happens. David Warner plays a version of Frankenstein monster that brings everything to a head when the drooling thugs converge on the Hoffman/George house. Since you really find it hard to care for any of these people, the violent conclusion is not worth waiting for. Maybe in its' day ...
I only saw this once and I was in high school when I saw it so I'm going by distant memory. Dustin Hoffman was the lead in this movie. He (his character) moves to England with his wife. As I recall it, his wife more or less teases the construction workers who are working on their home. It eventually becomes more than she can handle and the whole thing blows up in her face. If I remember correctly Hoffman began to notice something going on but fails to act. I think his wife was either raped or at least attempted. At some point the whole crew is out to kill both Hoffman and his wife in their home and a battle for their lives begins. Is there a lesson to be learned from this movie? Two of them. One is that a man can rise above his fears and face them . Two, women should keep their panties on when the construction workers are nearby and the husband is at work. Not bad Huh, considering it's been thirty some odd years since I have seen this movie.
One of Sam Peckinpah's films from his best period as a director, this is a complex, nasty and disturbing film. The final scenes are extremely brutal, and the exploration of the heart of darkness inside even very mild men, is utterly compelling.
If there has ever been a more over-interpreted and stolidly misinterpreted film than director Sam Peckinpah's 1971 Straw Dogs, I've yet to encounter it. Yes, films like Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey have had more ink spilled over them, but most of the ideas tossed about are on the money, and far less is read into them. Also, they have one big thing going for them that Straw Dogs does not. They are great films. While Straw Dogs is not nearly as good a film as its hagiographers claim- for Peckinpah had all the subtlety and psychological depth of a sledgehammer, nor is it as irredeemable a bit of pornography as it detractors insist, it is, above all, a very dull and mediocre film. This is not a word- dull, that has likely ever appeared in a review of the film, but what else can one call a film that telegraphs its end in the first twenty minutes, and has all the realistic character development of a Warner Brothers Roadrunner cartoon? Excuse me: let me rescind that. Wile E. Coyote,... Read more