Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Straw Dogs

James Marsden plays a Hollywood screenwriter who goes with new wife (Kate Bosworth) to her backwoods hometown in the Deep South to sell the home in which she grew up. They hire some of her old friends to do some contracting worth, and they terrorize the couple in increasingly bold and disturbing ways. A remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 thriller, which starred Dustin Hoffman, Rod Lurie's film equals the original and surpasses it in many ways.

Subtle character shading and more convincing motivation for the sordid characters makes up for the performances, which can't match those of the original.

Lurie is a severely underrated filmmaker, whose The Contender (2000) is one of the finest political dramas ever put to film and Nothing but the Truth (2008) was unfairly left out of that year's awards chase due to distribution problems. His Straw Dogs remake is riveting, challenging and thought-provoking, and I hope he continues to show his unique brand of skill.

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