List Film

Straw Dogs (1 star)

Risible remake of Peckinpah's 1970s revenge thriller

Straw Dogs

(18) 109min

An early star vehicle for Dustin Hoffman, Sam Peckinpah’s film of Gordon Williams’ novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm was one of the high (or low) watermarks of early 1970s brutalism – a moody, nihilistic polemic that equated violence with manhood, backed up with the repellent suggestion that women might enjoy the experience of being raped. Now hack Rod Lurie has directed a near shot-for-shot remake, right down to the identical poster art, but shorn of the potent meanings of the original.

Reset to a bland Deep South setting, wimpy LA screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) and wife Amy (Kate Bosworth) move out to the Mississippi sticks to rebuild an old property, only to fall foul of the local yobs, led by Amy’s ex Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard). When David is lured out on a hunting trip, Charlie’s band of high-school jocks make their move on Amy, leading David to take his bloody revenge.

Love it or hate it, the original film at least reflected Sam Peckinpah’s own nihilistic kill-or-be-killed outlook. The 2011 version of Straw Dogs is a bland, soulless confection, devoid of cultural resonance, and a waste of time for cast, crew and audience alike.

General release from Fri 4 Nov.

Straw Dogs Trailer

Straw Dogs

  • 2011
  • US
  • 110 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Rod Lurie
  • Cast: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgård, Dominic Purcell, Laz Alonso, Willa Holland, James Woods
  • UK release: 4 November 2011

Lurie remakes Sam Peckinpah's 1971 thriller with the action moved to the Deep South of America.

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