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Straw Dogs (1971)

Director:
Sam Peckinpah

COUNTRY
USA

Genre
Thriller

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Kjøterne

RUNNING TIME
117 minutes

Producers:
Daniel Melnick

Screenwriters (based on a novel by Gordon M. Williams):
David Zelag Goodman
Sam Peckinpah


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING

David Sumner

Dustin Hoffman

Amy Sumner

Susan George ½

Tom Hedden

Peter Vaughan

Major John Scott

T. P. McKenna -

Charlie Venner

Del Henney

Chris Cawsey

Jim Norton

Norman Scutt

Ken Hutchison

Bobby Hedden

Len Jones -

Janice Hedden

Sally Thomsett -

Henry Niles

David Warner ½

 

Review

Pitting Dustin Hoffman against locals in an English village is quite the clever starting point. And rightly, the first half of Straw Dogs is intriguing, mostly because of Dustin Hoffman's performance and the contradiction between his character and the primitive nature of the locals, as suggested by the director Sam Peckinpah. The American Hoffman has settled down with his young English wife in the Cornish countryside. And when the ostensibly cerebral Hoffman interacts with the young lolita-ish Susan George, the picture taps into a 1970s zeitgeist and reaches its zenith of interrelational dynamism. However, after an intriguing and at times multifaceted build-up, Peckinpah is held back by his usual afflictions. He isn't able to be restrained or sensitive enough when conducting his showdown. The ending becomes theoretical and staged; a sort of brainstorming of how various people could react when pushed to the limits. There's no real coherence between this ending and the conscientious character development we've been exposed to during the preceding hour – or with any rational human behaviour, for that matter. Despite camouflaging as being interested in humanity and sociology in general, Straw Dogs is really just an excuse for violence; for Peckinpah to show off his brashness and irreverence. He was such a talented filmmaker by this point, but he wasn't able to put that talent into satisfactory use from an artistic or entertainment perspective.

Copyright © 20.02.2022 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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