|DVD Straw Dogs
Run time: 110 min
Director: Rod Lurie
Writers: Rod Lurie, David Zelag Goodman
Stars: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgård
Screenwriter David Sumner travels with his wife Amy in his Jaguar to her homeland Blackwater, in the Mississippi. Amy’s father has passed away and David intends to write his screenplay about Stalingrad in the house. David hires the contractor Charlie and his team to repair the roof of the Barn. Amy was the sweetheart of Charlie when she lived there and neither him nor his crew show respect to her. Charlie invites David to hunt deers with his group and him but they leave David alone in the woods and rape Amy. She does not tell to David what happened but when the drunken coach Tom Heddon calls Charlie and his friends to hunt down the slow Jeremy Niles that likes his daughter, David decides to protect not only Jeremy, but also Amy and his honor. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Plot Keywords: screenwriter, rape, barn, deer, mississippi|
Release Date: 4 November 2011 (UK)
Budget: $25,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $5,123,760 (USA) (16 September 2011)
Gross: $10,324,441 (USA) (7 October 2011)
Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" remains a most disturbing, morally ambiguous confrontation between the brute code of uneducated farmboys with the complex attempts at rationalization by a sophisticated, neurotic, hyper-educated urban college professor attempting to escape the responsibilities of living in an increasingly complex world. It is also a magnificently constructed motion picture, elegantly photographed, brilliantly edited, hauntingly scored, with powerhouse performances from every actor.
This wholly unnecessary remake on the other hand is amateurish swill – banal photography, drama-class acting (and why not? all the characters have been reduced to caricature), and soap-opera rewriting. It's basically a television movie with some sex and violence thrown in for the fan-boy crowd. It's even got the requisite car-chases, and supposedly pointed dialog about adultery and motivations, blah blah blah.
Graceless, visually dull, with no sympathetic characters, but a lotta boom! crash! foe those who think loud noises and pyrotechnics make up for lack of intelligence and imagination.
An embarrassing attempted 'remake' of a great piece of film making, by a cast and crew who evidently have no idea what the original was all about.
Peckinpah's original raised questions – you left the theater feeling awkward, self-conscious, asking the same question the lead character was asking himself – 'how do I find my way home now?' This pseudo-remake leaves you wondering, "Is it over yet? Why did I waste money on this? Won't this be show up on DVD soon?"
Because that's all it is, a poorly made routine B movie – part domestic melodrama, part crime shocker, aimed at the DVD market.
Wholly forgettable, with blasé cinematography, second rate photography – utterly forgetful.
See the original – a strange, uncomfortable and difficult but insightful film that holds its own after 4 decades.
This remake has no reason to exist. It is shallow and poorly acted and lacks most of the tense emotions and moral questions raised by the original. Hollywood at its worst, cellophane-wrapped, uninspired, made-for-TV quality, cookie cutter remake. Of course, it is padded with clichés, cheap effects and mass-appeal frosting to bring out brain-dead teen movie goers. Why did a great actor like James Wood let himself get suckered into this disaster? This could have been an so-so B-action movie but trying to cash in on the status of Sam Peckinpah's cult classic is a really cheap move. It also forces me to give it a 1-star rating rather than a 4 to 5 rating it could have earned if it didn't ask to be compared with the former.
If you consider watching this movie, please rent the original instead. It is still as intense as it was in 1971 and actually raises a lot of disturbing questions. A true classic.
It's a testament to the power of Straw Dogs' story (Sam Peckinpah's adaptation of Gordon Williams' novel) that the 2011 remake is still entertaining despite its numerous shortcomings in both complexity and artistry to its predecessor. Director Rod Lurie's retelling trades conflicted characters and intricate ideals of bravery and cowardice with plain-dealing motives and basic revenge; Peckinpah's flair for operatic visuals is sadly absent. So too is the contemplative nature of the whole affair the ambiguity and subtleties within every character's actions have been replaced with spoon-fed notions of right and wrong. It's impossible to avoid comparison to the original film, and doing so would be a disservice to the discerning viewer. Those that loved Peckinpah's creation will likely find little value in Lurie's version, but for those who haven't seen it, the remake does offer a humble taste of the brilliance you're missing out on.
Screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) and his wife Amy (Kate Bosworth) move to her old hometown of Blackwater, Mississippi with the hopes of peace and quiet so he can write his newest script. When Amy's former boyfriend Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard) and his buddies Bic (Drew Powell), Chris (Billy Lush), and Norman (Rhys Coiro) are hired to repair the Sumners' garage, the bullying of David and unwelcome advances toward Amy begin. As the taunts and threats steadily escalate to a horrific act of violence, David must take a stand and defend his new home with an equal force of savagery.
Everything questionable, objectionable and controversial about the original Straw Dogs has been finely filtered out, leaving a straightforward, simple revenge story. None of the artistic violence, symbolic editing or jarring music remains. This update goes so far as to spell out the significance of the title, as well as adding the line "maybe you should wear a bra," which drastically dumbs down the purpose of Amy's appearance. If it weren't for the fact that the target audience is likely to have no knowledge of the 1971 version's existence, this level of defining, dulling and allaying disputatious content would be insulting. Extra references to the predominant themes, such as the inclusion of research on Stalingrad, further add to the intellectual affront.
Minor details have changed but the basic ideas are still present. Some of the original dialogue is reused (including snippet jokes that are no longer relevant), several scenes are nearly identical, a few props reappear, and even a couple of camera angles pay homage to Sam Peckinpah's vision. The competition, power struggle, vigilantism, Of Mice and Men subplot, conflict with religion, psychological breaking point examination and underdog vengeance aren't forgotten, however, and it's hard not to admire the cathartic power of the hero rising to the occasion and giving the villains what they so desperately deserve. It's essentially a two-hour, disturbing, suspenseful build to an explosive conclusion one that abruptly stops when the last antagonist has fallen. But it's also difficult for Marsden to compete with Hoffman and for director/screenwriter Rod Lurie to match the originality and creativity of Peckinpah's turbulent classic.
– The Massie Twins (GoneWithTheTwins.com)