Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Straw Dogs. C+


Sam Peckinpah's 'Straw Dogs' sort of reminded me of 'Sudden Impact,' the weakest film in the 'Dirty Harry' series. But 'Sudden Impact' was better because it had Clint Eastwood in the lead. Dustin Hoffman is a great actor and he is good in this, but his character is weak beyond measures. I found the film offensive because I didn't know what Peckinpah was trying to say. He spoke in foreign tongues for the most part, especially the deep views surrounding rape and violence. David Sumner (Hoffman) and his wife Amy (Susan George) have recently moved to a quiet village in England, where they hope to get some peace and quiet. But a group of thugs who are working on the couple's garage decide to make trouble and soon David and his wife are surrounded by unrelenting violence and mayhem. Peckinpah is known for violence in his movies. We certainly got a taste of that in his masterpiece, 'The Wild Bunch.' Here he uses violence, but it is not until the end, when he crams in as much of it as possible. The problem is it all seems pointless because the bad guys are as drunk as can be and Hoffman's character makes almost no sense. If you watch the movie you'll see why. David is an interesting character because he is all about staying out of trouble. He is a weak man to say the least. We know he's going to make some sort of big move at the end, but we didn't expect him to lose his mind. Peckinpah's direction is obviously present as he masterfully crafts this picture to perfection. But he leaves the viewer feeling very uncertain by the end and though the movie shined brightly at times, it comes off as rather bitter. But then again, maybe that was Peckinpah's goal.

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