Film: Straw Dogs 18 rating Year: 1971
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Drama
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, David Warner, Ken Hutchinson, Colin Welland

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Straw Dogs Synopsis - Straw Dogs is set in a small and remote village in Cornwall. It's story centres on David Sumner, a Mathematician from America, and his wife Amy, who is a local. Being an outsider (and a relatively successful one at that) he does not fit in well with the locals, and his refusal to accept the local ways leads him to constant harassment from them. This leads him into conflict with his wife, so he decides to try and fit in with the locals. In his attempts he is lured away from the house, and whilst he is away his wife is sexually assaulted by two of the villagers. Later on a village lynch mob are on the hunt for a retarded young man who they suspect has killed a local girl, and they are baying for his blood. Sumner gives refuge to the young man and refuses to hand him over to the mob. As the mob closes in, will he have to give in to will of the mob or take a stand and face the consequences.

Review of Straw Dogs - Straw Dogs is basically a classic western uprooted from the Wild West and planted in modern day Cornwall. It's theme is very much one of outsiders played against the gang mentality. This works extremely well and Sam Peckinpah of course is a master of violent thrillers. This film was banned for many years in the UK because of the violent sexual assault scenes included in the film, which is a shame because it is such a great film. On the other hand the ban was understandable as those scenes involving the lead characters wife, are played out with a rather ambiguous attitude, and this makes for some extremely unpleasant viewing and this ambiguity seems rather a dangerous thing to include in the film. Why Pekinpah would chose to include these relatively explicit assaults with such an ambiguous attitude puzzles me. Portrayed this way, they certainly do a disservice to the integrity of both the story, and the film as a whole (which is in every other respect, a terrific piece of work).
The reasons I recommend Straw Dogs are: 1. A great and novel take on the classic western themes. 2. The story works as a fantastic thriller. 3. A great supporting cast who really do help to convey the threatening mob mentality.