Straw Dogs (Unrated Version) [Blu-ray]
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When some of the local underemployed thugs start bullying him--(The script and Peckinpah's direction of the actors hits bull's-eye here; having lived in England, I saw the same sort of behavior--punks all over, I guess, have mannerisms of bullying peculiar to their culture.)
The violent climax to this film is--you hate to say it--beautiful. It certainly isn't gorey by today's standards. This, perhaps, is what makes people so uncomfortable about this movie--their own reaction to the violence. Hoffman conveys wonderfully both the fear and the satisfaction his character is experiencing.
At one level, this film exists as a simple tale of revenge. At another level, the movie affirm's Peckinpah's vision of violence as a rite of manhood. Whether this rite is a regrettable one . . . well, that remains arguable, and this ambiguity is part of what makes this such a watchable, and re-watchable, movie.
To do the film justice, you need to plug your brain in. Which, on the surface, may not appear to be the case, because the story - what it is - is relatively simple. It's an English western.
David, a mathematician (Dustin Hoffman), is on sabbatical from the university where he teaches. He has left the states and returned with his wife Amy, (Susan George) to the tiny English village in which she grew up. From the word go, David has to contend with the fact that Amy has a history in the town. He also has to contend with the fact that she is younger than him, and bored. Her boredom serves as a distraction from the reason behind his sabbatical. Amy on the other hand has to live with a quiet, "odd" American who does not give her the attention she requires.Read more ›
It's important to bear in mind that this is a work of fiction, not a documentary. In fiction, people do not necessarily behave in ways that people do in real life. It is, for instance, highly unlikely that the meek Dustin Hoffman character could successfully slaughter a half dozen brawny opponents, but that's the story.
The second point to remember is that the rape scene comes in two parts, with two different sexual couplings. The first is merely a "fantasy rape scenario", while the second underlines that point by showing a far more realistic example of rape.
How does fantasy enter into the scenario? Although some may deny it, studies have routinely shown that 'forced sex' fantasies are popular with both genders. Nancy Friday, in "The Secret Garden", documented the popularity of such fantasies with women. Anyone who has ever read a typical romance novel from the 1970s (the time this movie was made) realizes that the 'rape' scenario has played a key role in women's erotica.
This does not mean that women want to be raped (nor that men want to rape them), merely that many women are sexually aroused by fantasizing about non-violent situations where they find themselves overpowered and 'forced' to do what they really want to do. In these fantasy situations, the women are really in total control, of course, because the fantasy takes place only in their own minds. The fantasy 'rapist' does only what they choose for him to do, no more no less. He is, in fact, the puppet in the fantasy, not them. If they chose, they could just as easily fantasize about them raping HIM (another theme that arises in some women's fantasies).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a masterpiece. a reflection on the human desire for peace and need for violencePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
Greatest movie ever. Love Peckinpah!...The remake is horrible. This is the original violent lusty morality play by Peckinpah!Published 2 months ago by Jeffrey Gillette
After seeing my first Peckinpah film, The Wild Bunch, I thought "Damn, great brave movie!". After reading some reviews on youtube(watching a trailer for the movie first)... Read morePublished 3 months ago by vanilla