Straw Dogs: Remaking a Classic…

In 1971 Director Sam Peckinpah released a movie called Straw Dogs. It was based off of the novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, written in 1969 by Gordon Williams. The film sparked controversy with concerns over the rise of violence in film. It didn’t help that it came out the same year as movies like A Clockwork Orange, The French Connection, and Dirty Harry, which all received similar criticism. In today’s film world, filled with stylized violence and gratuitous bloodshed, it’s surprising how well this actually holds up.

The movie was a story about David Sumner, an American intellectual (Dustin Hoffman) who moves with his wife Amy (Susan George), back to her hometown in England. Once there he becomes enamored with his work and she gets bored. She starts to flirt with some of the locals they’ve hired to fix up there house, one of which is an old boyfriend of hers. The men see Dave as a coward and start to push him bit by bit until things escalate out of control…

This movie was my first introduction to Sam Peckinpah back when I watched in High School and still my favorite of his films. It gets down to base of what a man is capable of when forced into a bad situation.

Well the movie is now being remade by someone with decidedly less pedigree, but not a terrible track record – Film Critic turned Director Rod Lurie who is most famous for The Contender. Cast in the leads are titans of mediocrity, repaired for some reason after Superman ReturnsJames Marsden and Kate Bosworth. And quite frankly, I just don’t think they have the acting chops of Hoffman and Susan George.

What is interesting though is the cast that surrounds them, namely our villain – Alexander Skarsgård, who is best know to True Blood fans as the Vampire Sheriff Eric Northman. For me, he is the most likeable part of True Blood (Well, aside from Deborah Ann Woll anyway —> ).

Here is the new trailer…

Ok, so OBVIOUSLY it doesn’t look as epic as the original. It’s no longer set in rural countryside England, but now instead in “Small Town USA”, where there is never a shortage of rednecks and idiots. However, 2 of the best cast pieces aren’t even shown in the trailer, and that’s James Woods (Casino, The Hard Way, Cat’s Eye) and Boyd Crowder Walton Goggins (The Shield, Predators, Justified).

Also appearing will be Prison Break’s Dominic Purcell and recently unemployed star of The Chicago Code, as well as another ‘Gone too Soon’ type of show The Black Donnelys,  Billy Lush. Overall, cast looks good even if Cyclops the kid from Disturbing Behavior Marsden isn’t my favorite actor, he’s not terrible.

I have no doubt this will pale in comparison with the original, but I’m pretty sure I’ll see it anyhow. It is set for a US release September 16th of this year.

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