Straw Dogs (1971)

Movie about a mathematician, David (Dustin Hoffman) who rents a house with his wife Amy (Susan George) in her childhood hometown only for them to receive an increasing amount of harassment from locals. This film’s history is quite problematic – what with a famously vicious rape scene – so I’m very reluctant to give it 5*s. I have read reviews where people have said that they were turned on by the rape scene. Erm. Nope!

Any film with Dustin Hoffman in it is going to be good. But what problematizes this is the obvious gender representation in this film and the obvious shocking nature of the film as mentioned earlier.

Of course, it is very dark. That goes without saying. Not just the cinematography, but also the general mood of the film itself. It is abundantly clear by the end that things won’t come up smelling of roses. While happy endings are good sometimes, it is good to watch a film where the happiness of characters is not sealed by a marriage.

Dustin Hoffman was a good actor in this film even though I have read certain sources which say he only did the role for the money. I can see why. I don’t think any actor would choose to be in such a desperately bleak film. Of course, despite the shocking reputation of the film, there have been worse films since.

This film certainly reaches the dark side of people’s personalities. Everyone betrays each other, and that’s the truth. People just don’t want to face it.

Ultimately a good film about masculine power, its worth a watch at least. Despite the controversy.

MY RATING: *** / *****

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