Straw Dogs details
|Formats:||18 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Arne, Colin Welland, T.P. McKenna, Ken Hutchison, David Warner, Jim Norton, Peter Vaughan|
|Genres:||Drama - General, Thriller|
|Run time:||1 hour 53 minutes|
|Rental release:||23 Aug 2004|
Most helpful review
Not pleasant, but unmissable.By a customer from Wales , 25 Mar 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]The controversy that surrounded this film may have sold tickets, but it distracts from the true qualities of the film. Some film catalogues apparently bill this as ?horror?, and much of it?s reputation is based on the violence (ungraphic by today's standrds)of the last third. I think the publicity of the time ran along the lines ?From the man who unloosed the Wild Bunch comes Hoffman unleashed?. But that would have been was the studio publicity department idea, not Peckinpah?s.
This is a far deeper, more subtle film than all that would suggest. It is about violence, but it?s about the
unpredictability of the consequences of violence; about how it solves nothing, but once started can gain a life and momentum of its own. It?s also a film about isolation, about failures of connection and communication.
Hoffman is good as the quite outsider, ineffectual, afraid of confrontation, and an easy target for the ribbing jokes of the local bad boys. Susan George, though, is outstanding as his wife. Initially she displaying a perfect naive innocence in her use of her sexuality to, she thinks, harmlessly tease the men around her. But, says Peckinpah, actions have consequences, intended or not.
It?s how George portrays her character?s reactions to the consequences that marks her as a far better actress than her other work did justice to. There?s the rape scheme itself, of course, in which little is actually seen, yet draws its power from the close-ups of her facial reaction shots. There?s the bedroom scheme that follows it, where the gulf between her and her husband, their total failure to communicate, is highlighted. And there?s the scheme at the village concert party, where, almost wordlessly, George conveys her internal horror, guilt, and torment at what?s been done to her.
Its not a pleasant film, and it's without conventional heroes and villains. Hoffman?s character is deeply flawed in his failure to relate to his wife on any meaningful level, or to provide emotional or physical security. When he finally is pushed to make a stand, its not over her at all, and he doesn?t even know about the rape; it?s only partly over protecting David Warner?s character. It?s really about defending the house itself, the house that, he says, ?is me?.
It?s only when there is the first killing that he intellectually, not emotionally, rationalises that there is now no going back - ?if they get in now they?ll have to kill us all?. The violence has taken on a life of its own.
With the exception of Norman, the villains are not really all bad. The father (Peter Vaughn) has at least legitimate cause for anger; Charlie does try to calm things down; the Rat Man had tried to connect with Hoffman, but failed.
Oh, and all that rubbish about Peckinpah being misogynistic, about portraying the rape as if the woman ?had asked for it? and was to blame for it? Just watch the film. It?s far more complex, and sympathetic, than that.
- Was this review helpful to you?
- (28) Yes |
- No (4)
Dustin Hoffman's finest hour...By JafarIqbal (54 reviews) from London , 29 Sep 2012Part of that post-Hays Code renaissance of cinema in the sixties and seventies, Straw Dogs is a fantastic portrayal of what happens when man is pushed too far. The man in question is David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman), an American mathematician who moves into a new house in England wi
th wife Amy (Susan George). What starts out as bullying by some of the local hooligans becomes something much more sinister and extreme, forcing David to react in kind.
To understand just how disturbing Straw Dogs is, you only need to look at the fact that it was banned in the UK until 2002. It pulls no punches, it really doesnt. Violence and sex are expressed unflinchingly, shot with an unsettling level of detail and intimacy, creating a sense of dread that permeates through the movie. This is easily a precursor to movies like Funny Games, which relies on the same intensity.
But more than the actual violence itself, its the slow build to these sequences that are memorable. You could probably class this as a psychological thriller, but I think Straw Dogs is at its heart a character study. David Sumners evolution is a lesson in character development, and Dustin Hoffmans performance is a lesson in acting. From first scene to last, he is magnetic, stealing every scene hes in. I couldnt really imagine any other actor expressing the nuances and layers of the character the way Hoffman does. Susan George, too, probably gives the best performance of her career, and the chemistry between the two is excellent.
There should never have been a remake of this film; really annoys me that there was. No way that the performances of Hoffman and George could be recreated, as could not the unsettling nature of the original. This should be watched at all costs.
THE ENGLISH 'DELIVERANCE'!By nORMObAZZA (1248 reviews) , 08 Aug 2012One of those cult(?) 'classics' that I had not seen. I always wondered why GEORGE was deemed a 'celebrity' for so long without ever actually doing anything. Now I know. She got her tats out in the seventies.
- Was this review helpful to you?
- (0) Yes |
- No (1)
superior versionBy ThomasQ (13 reviews) , 21 May 2012Re-watched this to compare with the remake and still found it gripping. This is the ultimate 'fish out of water' thriller which asks some interesting questions of the viewer. The performances are excellent and often make you feel uncomfortable and frightened. There are one or two scenes which are difficult to watch but I feel that these are essential to the story. Although it is an old film it has aged very well and the subject still feels relavent. I would recommend watching this and avoid the remake.
Not as great as it's reputation would have you believe.By gingerspike (410 reviews) from Grimsby , 04 May 2012Having never seen this before it was an intention of mine to watch it, particularly with it's cult status and critical acclaim. As one would maybe expect the film is very dated, and is a very very slow burner (to the point where it would be quite easy to lose interest altogether!), but the film is a good relocation of the western genre with some quite shocking moments. Having said this, the film does verge on the silly at times.
- Was this review helpful to you?
- (1) Yes |
- No (0)
Now a bit of a DogBy Bobsview (554 reviews) from Gloucestershire , 15 Mar 2012I saw this at the time and thought it was an amazing film that broke new ground. I think I was probably dazzled by a young sexy Susan George as we are the same age. So I was disappointed when I watched it today 41 years later to find it has not stood the test of time. It is very slow but I can forgive that because it was attempting to build tension towards the violent climax. However the acting seemed poor and the plot lacks credibility. The village idiot is a parody and all the workmen are playing country yokel stereotypes.. Even the infamous rape scene now looks poorly acted and unbelievably she appears towards the end to be enjoying it. How did they get that past the censor? Dustin Hoffman is still playing Ben from The Graduate. Sadly now very dated.