Straw Dogs (1971)

Straw Dogs (1971)
  • Time: 118 min
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Director: Sam Peckinpah
  • Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan


Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house.

One comment

  • Dustin Hoffman and Susan George go to a country lodge in a small village in England for him to think and calculate his mathematical theories (as he is some sort of scientist) in director Sam Peckinpah’s classic film about, well, about many things. I could barely scratch the surface on all the underlying messages that Peckinpah is saying about mankind, and especially what it means to be a man. What appears at first to be a disturbing, eerie suspense film to the viewer begins to symbolize the different aspects of a man and what he called to be and do in society. At first, its pace is very deliberate, making some wonder when something is going to happen. But you don’t have to wait long, as there is an early innocent victim.

    It’s painfully obvious to the viewer through their fights that Dustin and Susan aren’t really suited to each other, as she doesn’t really understand him and isn’t very patient with his peculiar disposition. What’s confusing to me is just why there is construction on a second building just beside them all this time that they are in the other one. Basically, the plot in the beginning revolves around the construction workers ogling Susan. Eventually Dustin becomes slowly aware that one of them is playing with their minds in little ways, and that something is really wrong.

    The last 45 minutes or hour of the movie is like nothing you’ve seen as she raped by one of the men, of whom she begins to feel more real lust and life coming from him than she felt from Dustin and the viewer is led to the conclusion she feels a certain closeness to him, just from the physical love she is experiencing maybe for the first time. She even calls him by name at the wrong time later on in the movie, which makes Dustin aware of something not right. But he’s never told about the rape.

    Then, there’s a subplot about a guy who’s not all there, hanging out with teenage girls. When a secret rendezvous goes bad, he runs off and in the middle of a country road, where Dustin hits him with his car in the nighttime fog. He takes him home with him, which causes a violent, non-stop climax whose intensity rivals that of any movie today, when the young girl’s father wants the disturbed boy and won’t leave without him. Dustin defends his home at all costs. And then and only then, does Susan know just how much she means to him.

    Never heard of “Straw Dogs”! Well, now you know. It’s essential Dustin Hoffman viewing. Interesting title, too! What may appear as something flimsy really is strong after all.

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