American mathematician David Sumner moves with his wife, Amy, to the isolated Cornish town where she grew up. Their presence provokes antagonism among the village men. The pacifistic David resorts to the gruesome violence he abhors when the savagery instensifies.
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Beyond the oft-repeated under-siege surface structure, this is a nuanced study in notions of masculinity. The ambiguity of tone is superbly modulated by swiftly pulling back the vicarious thrill of power and violence to provoke feelings of guilt. It's interesting to see Peckinpah out of a familiar locale as this foreign terrain lends a crisper stage for one of his better studies in the effects of male brute force.
Peckinpah easily topped the controversy he received from The Wild Bunch with this gut wrenching thriller about a pacifist who is out of his element and pushed to his limits. This was Peckinpah's Deliverance and it is a far superior film to the aforementioned one.
Exploitation action flick filtered through Peckinpah's cynical lens. It shook me up and made me hate myself for rooting for any side. Where is the salvation? Who is our hero? What do we really have? Only peckinpah can make rape more disturbing than Gasper Noe.
Sam Peckinpah's visceral thriller about a mild mannered American who, after moving to England with his wife to get away from violence, is forced to defend his home from a raging lynch mob after his wife is raped. Powerfully directed and edited, STRAW DOGS is a harrowing and morally ambiguous exploration on ideas of justice and revenge that remains every bit as potent and relevant today as it was in 1971.
Movies like this really make me wish I could give movies 4.5 stars on this site because Peckinpah's "Slap That Bitch" philosophy on how to write female characters is the only think keeping me from giving this five stars.