2011-10-07 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

MovieScope

Straw Dogs – The Mouse That Gored
By Robert Snyder

Why remake the Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 male-rite-of-passage gore classic? Could it be because President Obama’s being beat up by political bullies?

That analogy does come to mind when watching the update of the gentlemanly intellectual who is forced to finally take violent action against rural brutes to defend his wife and home. Also, Kevin McAllister (Macauley Culkin) of the 1990’s comedy, “Home Alone,” is evident in the clever youth protecting his house from an invasion of incensed idiots.

However, there’s nothing funny about Peckinpah’s film or its update. Both are loaded with sexual tension, which fuels the male attack mode.

Directed by former film critic Rob Lurie, the new “Straw Dogs” has switched the crime scene from coastal Britain to backwoods Mississippi. The milk-toast male, David Sumner, is now by played James Marsden (before, Dustin Hoffman), while hot-totrot wife, Amy, has Kate Bosworth providing her inflammatory charms (once, Susan George). David is a successful screenwriter (Hoffman was a mathematician), taking a break from Hollywood to write a script about the Battle of Stalingrad. He and Amy are staying at the Southern home where she grew up and was the girlfriend of the head thug, Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard), who’s repairing her roof with a bunch of his good ole boys.

Parading about the house in skimpy (or no) clothes, Amy teases the toughs, while taunting her husband to confront Charlie and company when the boys do bad things, like kill her cat. David keeps taking the line of least resistance, even after his wife is raped by Charlie and his number-one goon, Norman (Rhys Coiro). Though unaware and uniformed of the rape, the passive aggressive spouse is blind to Amy’s post-traumatic emotional state. The harried hubbie only becomes battle ready when harboring mentally disabled Jeremy (Dominic Percell) from the red-neck lynch mob. The finale matches the original, splatter for splatter. David proves his manhood. Now, he’s ready to take on Washington.




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