Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Straw Dogs, Rubber Men

Ha! Fooled ya, you thought you were going to see a blog post about the Kate Bosworth/Alexander Skarsgård/ James Woods fiasco from last year you're wrong!...and stupid. The original Straw Dogs directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1971 may be the most evil film ever made. Filthy, raunchy, and downright shocking in the purest sense of the word, it recently has been completely butchered by bored Hollywood executives that are strapped for material and have nothing better to do. I want to talk about it for a bit, because I don't believe this new version to be a Star Trek kind of phenom where it's a reboot for a younger generation, and don't even get me started on Footloose, but I think this honestly tries at...something...not sure what yet but I'll try to figure it out when I see it after getting blind drunk and wondering to myself, should I go sledding down the concrete streets of LA or go home and watch the new Straw Dogs
A Scene of Serenity

For those of you born in the 90's, first of all go fuck yourselves, second of all, you haven't lived until you've experienced a Sam Pickinpah film, and yes this is my slow way of destroying all of society. In the 70's people clearly tolerated that kind of thing, but now a days, I think the whole world would crumble on itself. Filmmakers like Peckinpah don't come around every millennium and he has sadly been dismissed as a tawdry, filth-monger who functions for shock-value and i'm thinking, well, what's wrong with that?? That's cinema last time I checked from the glory days of pre-code Hollywood, to King Vidor, to even Orson Welles. That's tradition, and that's what we really want...small problem though. Peckinpah's penchant for violence did him in, in the end. Even in the 70's when we wanted everything as gritty and realistic as possible, a 12-minute rape scene was too much, and it still is. 
Let's back track and explain the plot. 
A Scene of Violence

Dustin Hoffman pretty much plays himself, a low-key quirky, nerdy mathematician of sorts that moves to a small town in the English country-side for his beautiful 21-year-old blonde and bra-less wife played by Twiggy look-alike and ballsy British actress Susan George. They meander about town, trying to start a new family life, but a few problems get in their way, Amy (George) and David's (Dustin Hoffman) marriage is on solid ground but there isn't much romance involved, which upsets the former of the two and she turns her attention harmlessly as it were to the old blokes she used to hang with that are the antithesis of her new husband; they are rough, fowl mouthed, hard drinking, and much, much more 'macho'. The tension culminates in one of them who it is later revealed was Amy's former boyfriend assaults her and in a slow-motion violent and deeply disturbing rape scene has his way with her, which she eventually accepts and ends up getting off on. But instead of telling David, she wants to see if he will 'be a man' about the whole matter which crescendos to their house being under siege by many of the locals most of them friends of Amy's assailant. This provides the ultimate opportunity for David to prove himself as a man; not by making love to his wife when she asks for it, not for standing up for her honor when the towns folk whistle at her as she walks by, and not even by saving her life, but becoming engaged in the same kind of radical violence their enemies convey. David and his wife are now trapped in their own home, and the only thing logical for him to do, is fight fire with fire.Peckinpah lulls you into a false state of security and then rips your head off, it's what he does best. You think at worst, there will be like a fist fight, or some words exchanged, or someone will break an empty beer bottle over someone's head but it won't shatter into a million pieces that get lodged in someone's wrong you are.
Peckinpah builds such tension, but also has no problem with jabbing you in throat violently with the truth, it's a brilliant combination complete with extended marauding stares and buckets of blood. And though Straw Dogs is his crowning achievement, it will do you good...or bad...for you to do some further research.

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