Monday, October 11, 2004

Straw Dogs

I watched Straw Dogs this weekend: an amazing film. A brief synopsis: Dustin Hoffman plays a mathatician who moves to England with his British wife to escape the controvery of the Vietnam War. Living in a small town, the tightley controlled Hoffman finds himself slowly unraveling in the face of the macho townspeople who have no respect for a brainy wuss. Finally, they push him too far and the movie explodes as Hoffman finds the animal inside him and stands up to the brutes.
It's a vicious film. It should be, it was directed by Sam Peckinpah with that slow, 70s-era pacing that makes the end that much more intense. They don't make movies like this anymore.
Although not strictly a crime movie, what makes this movie so compelling is that, although the film is horrifying, there's no doubt that the violence serves as a macho male fantasy. It's a superior version of Deliverance (which was made one year later).
Much like Scarface, we might not like what is happening in the film, but we also wish, however secretly, that we could cast aside the rules of society and embrace our inner warrior (or criminal). And it follows through and embraces the feeling (which is exactly what Fight Club doesn't do ... But that's a whole 'nother post).

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