Saturday, September 17, 2011

Straw Dogs Review

This is a review of the original movie, not the remake that was recently released in theaters. Just to let everyone know this is a very dated movie. It takes place in the early 1970s in fictional village in Cornwall England. Everything about the movie seemingly dated, the wardrobe, cars, the verbiage the characters use, and the hair. Most of the movie deals with Dustin Hoffman's character being bullied by the people around him whether it may be his wife or the villagers he is not familiar with. An American mathematician in a small backwoods village in southern England is not really the most ideal setting for his character.

Hoffman's performance carries the entire movie by itself, as you see the evolution of a man from this meek timid man to a strong alpha male. His wife after coming being back to her hometown just continually berates he husband for not being "strong" because he sees all of the men in her town who do manual labor for a living and are very strong men. Meanwhile she married a mathematician who would never be considered a strong man, I feel like the character of the wife is very illogical in the movie. She constantly gets angry because her husband doesn't want to confront a group of about 5 men who already do not like him and would gladly take a shot at him the first chance they get. There is also a very graphic "rape" scene in the movie that is creepy on multiple level not just because it is a rape scene but because of the way the characters within the scene are reacting. Hoffman's wife is the character who is being raped by her former boyfriend and about halfway through the scene she seem to be into it and enjoying it, then after that is finished another character rapes her (the ex-boyfriend's friend) and that is when the real sense of dread and terror is presented onscreen. She starts having flashbacks of the event when Hoffman's character (who had nothing to do with the rape) tries to get intimate. Hoffman's character never finds out about the rape and this make for some interesting interactions between the characters. The final siege of Hoffman's house by the group of five men from earlier in the film is the only action set piece in the movie and it is pretty damn good. That is where I will stop because this a movie that should be experienced to get a real idea of what I am talking about.

Overall, I cannot say that I really enjoyed this movie. Hoffman's performance in this movie is astounding and is the only thing that really kept me watching, the other characters often came off as being caricatures and stereotypical. This movie was controversial when it was made and it is easy to see why, ultra-violence and rape weren't two things that were readily in movie in the early 1970s. If you want to see a truly exceptional performance by a great actor then watch this movie, but if you are not a Dustin Hoffman fan then don't put yourself through having to sit through this movie. This movie also happens to have one of the greatest movie poster of all time. Also if you decide to watch this movie I will leave you with one word, nipples. If you watch the movie you'll know what I mean.