Back in May Dr. Kronner wrote an article about the new Straw Dogs remake. Allow me to start off by saying, unlike him, I have not seen the original version of Straw Dogs or read The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, the book that the original film was based on. So I watched it and did my best to judge the movie as it stands on its own merits, rather than how it compares to the other versions.
“Los Angeles screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) and his wife, Amy (Kate Bosworth), move back to Amy’s hometown in the Deep South. Tensions begin to rise due to Amy’s former lover Charlie Venner (Alexander Skarsgård, True Blood), who rapes Amy after having his friends lure David out into the woods and strand him. When David agrees to help one of the locals (Walton Goggins, Justified), whose mentally retarded brother Jeremy (Dominic Purcell) has been falsely accused of rape, the normally pacifist David offer the two sanctuary and prepare to defend their home against Charlie and his friends, who seek to eliminate the people in the house.”
The film was directed, produced, and written by Rod Lurie. A former film critic who has turned out some fairly good films such as The Contender, The Last Castle, and Nothing But The Truth.
Something a lot of critics seem to be complaining about are the minor changes Lurie made to the story. Like changing David’s profession from math teacher to screenwriter, or changing the location of the film from rural England to the American south. I don’t feel any of the changes made have hurt the plot or the feel of the film.
I have also read that this version of the story is less dark and disturbing than the original film. Now, personally I didn’t feel like Lurie pulled any punches and if the original was darker and more disturbing I really don’t know what else they did to make it that way.
The rape scene alone was fairly unnerving not to mention all the killing.
One of my favorite moments in the film was when David refers to Charlie and his pals as a “…Bunch of straw dogs.” When questioned he explains “In ancient Chinese rituals, dogs made out of straw were used as offerings to the gods. During the ritual they were treated with the utmost reverence. When it was over and they were no longer needed they were trampled on and tossed aside. They become nothing. When their football careers are over that’s all these kids become Straw dogs.”
Overall I felt the acting was really good. James Woods and James Marsden actually impressed me the most. It was also nice seeing our buddy Walton Goggins even if it was a minor role.
I recommend seeing this movie; it’s a little slow at the start but picks up in the third act.
Side Note: One critic (who I will not justify with a link) let’s call him Bob, complained that it made no sense that Amy didn’t tell David about her rape, and stated that this movie ended with the couple having bonded through their shared trauma. Bob is a moron. Clearly he knows nothing about how rape victims, considering more than half don’t report the crime. Also that movie ended with the main characters being horribly broken, Amy in particular.