Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Straw Dogs (2011)

Rabid Revenge

Director: Rod Lurie
Writers: Rod Lurie (screenplay), David Zelag Goodman & Sam Peckinpah (original screenplay), Gordon Williams (novel "The Siege of Trencher's Farm") 
Cast: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, James Woods, Dominic Purcell, Walton Goggins, Laz Alonso

SYNOPSIS: A woman returns to Black Water, Mississippi with her husband after the death of her father forces them to look after the home she grew up in. While some of the locals make repairs to the barn's roof, the tension between the couple boils over just as a worse conflict threatens them both.

REVIEW: Rod Lurie, director of such films as The Contender and The Last Castle, started off as a movie critic before making the move to script writer and director. Producing, writing and directing a remake of Sam Peckinpah's controversial 1971 film of the same name starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George.

Coming back to the home town she ran away from as a teenager, Amy Summer (Kate Bosworth) and her screenwriter husband David (James Marsden) return to her parent's home after her father's death. Needing to complete some roofing repairs on the barn's roof after a hurricane, David hires a local contractor who has intimate history with Amy from her youth. During the repairs, David finds it difficult to deal to the familiar way the contractor Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard) and his men present themselves around their house, walking into the kitchen to help themselves to food or ogling his wife each time she passes by. Amy confronts David about his cowardice and inability to man-up in front of the locals, leading to more tension between them. Adding to the mix is a former high school coach and current drunk Ron Heddon (James Woods) steeped in Deep South bible-thumping and the Bengals win-loss record, Charlie's increasingly obsession with Amy, and some local drama with a mentally challenged man Jeremy (Dominc Purcell) who Ron thinks is hanging out with his daughter. 

Changing the surroundings from rural England to Black Water, Mississippi's, James Marsden and Kate Bosworth take over the leading roles from Hoffman and George. Where the 1971 version dealt with the struggle of a modern woman and the reluctance of her husband to acknowledge her want for a new role, Lurie takes a more straight-forward approach with a woman worked hard to leave behind her past and a man whose actions are ruled by intellect instead of of emotion and brawn. The violence of rape and of the incursion of force into Amy and David's lives are as vivid as ever, even if we as an audience are more desensitized than the audiences of 1971. 

Not as taboo as I Spit on Your Grave in either of its iterations, Straw Dogs still has some tough moments in the third act. Changing from a intense drama revolving around deep-rooted deep-south small town context and unfinished business, Straw Dogs finds itself in grim, violent territory that some may not be ready for.

WORTH: Matinee or DVD

No comments:

Post a Comment