Thursday, September 29, 2011

Straw Dogs

What can I say about this movie? Let’s see. I guess the question I should actually ask is, “What can I say nice about this movie?” The answer is…not much. This wasn’t at the top of my I-really-want-to-see-this list but I was determined to have myself a little movie marathon and this is what was showing. The other two movies I saw that night were Colombiana and Shark Night 3D. Nope. It was not a good night for a marathon. Unless you’re talking about running…and we’re not.

Let’s hear from IMDB:

” L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both.”

Seriously. Do the people who write these summaries actually watch the movies? The first statement is correct. The rest is most definitely reversed. And don’t get me started on the trailer. Gah!!!

This came out a few weeks ago so, once again, I’m hoping that everyone who is going to see this has because I’m going to totally ruin it for those of you who haven’t. Following is my attempt to sum up better than the IMDB person did.

David does move himself and his wife to her hometown of Blackwater, Mississippi so that he can work on a screenplay. Soon after arriving, David hires Amy’s ex-boyfriend, Charlie, and some of his friends to fix the roof of Amy’s late dad’s barn. Are you still with me? David doesn’t quite hit it off with the townsfolk in that he thinks they’re simple and they think he’s a snob. When Charlie and the gang go beyond just taunting David, Amy labels him a coward. The couple later come to the aid of the town pariah thus inciting an attack by the boys and a local ex-football coach/drunk/bully.

Yeah, so mine had a few more words anyway.

Let’s talk about why I didn’t like this movie. It’s ridiculous! We’ll start with Amy. We find out a ways in that something bad happened to her when she was dating Charlie but we never really find out what. I’m figuring she was raped. Whatever it was, she very obviously never mentioned this to David. First, I think I would definitely include that in the “need to know” information packet before I left home. Second, I most definitely wouldn’t return to the town if the same people involved still live there! Then! She taunts the men who are constantly leering at her by undressing in front of them. Good decision!!! I don’t believe that women who are raped are “asking for it” because of the way they’re dressed, or undressed as the case may be, but come on! And then after we see her get raped she doesn’t say anything to David or anyone else for that matter. Get these guys in jail for the love of Pete! And she does call David a coward because he won’t stand up to these guys. These four strappin’ guys with power tools and guns.

Now for David. Amy does have the teeniest bit of a point. He does allow some things that a lot of people normally wouldn’t. One of the crew walks in to David and Amy’s house and helps himself to a beer from the fridge and then stands there and chats up David. I’m sorry. I don’t give a fig for local custom. Get.Out.Of.My.House! You keep your door unlocked all you want. I’ll use the dead bolt, thank you very much. And I’m guessing the tag line, “Everyone has a breaking point” is supposed to apply to him. I just don’t believe he came to a breaking point. He was defending his home and his wife. He never seemed out of his mind. In fact, he made some very intelligent moves in that defense. I’m not real crazy about how Charlie dies but David most definitely used what was handy.

And now for the part I hated the most but so saw coming. They killed the cat!!! Rude.

The acting is really not worth discussing. It wasn’t the worst I’ve seen but nowhere near the best. In all fairness, though, to the movie itself and the acting, I had had a really REALLY bad day and thought that seeing movies in which people were in dire straits (not the rock band) would help me put things in perspective. Unfortunately, a couple paid $8 per ticket so that they could sit down the row from me and talk. Through the entire movie. You think I exaggerate. While that is true on occasion, this time I did not. And they were using their outside voices. I did finally get fed up and politely asked them to stop talking. They had a few choice words for me from which I couldn’t walk away. Right? Right? Hello? So. I was frustrated going in and angry during. Just not a good combination. Did you need to know all that? I think so. Will I see this again when I’m in a calmer frame of mind. No. Despite the negativity on my part at that particular time I still don’t think I’d like this movie.

Now let’s talk about the rating. This was “Rated R for strong brutal violence including a sexual attack, menace, some sexual content, and pervasive language.” Amen to that. There is absolutely no reason a child should be brought to this movie. None. I will go ahead and break it down though.

Sex/Nudity. Partial nudity, sexual innuendo and a rape scene.

Drinking/Drugs. Lots and LOTS of drinking. I don’t recall drugs but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any.

Cussing. Oh crap yeah. And then some.

Violence. Please see answer above.

If you’ve seen the original film with Dustin Hoffman or have read the book (The Siege of Trencher’s Farm) I might recommend this version just to see how it adds up. If you haven’t done either of those things then I suggest almost anything else. Almost. I’m considering reading the book just to see if it’s any better. It’s got to be.



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