Straw Dogs (1971) – Originally written August 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, after however many years it was that this film was banned for, eventually it became viewable. Was this really worth the wait? Truthfully, yes. Hoffman is surprisingly stunning as a mild mannered pacifist who goes completely tonto in defending his house. The violence is graffic & once the drunks begin to attack the house, this film switches from an almost detailed portrayal of quiet yet intimidating rural life to what feels more like a piece of Terminator style action.
This film was understandably banned for quite a long time as not only is it explicitly violent, but a rape scene half way through the film (which sadly is what the film is most famous for) is both explicit & almost possitive towards the notion of rape. George’s almost enjoyment at the first of the two rapes (both done one after the other) is worrying in itself & understandably condemned.
However, despite the negativity of the portrayal of the rape scene and the admittedly slow beginning, this film is worth watching. Perhaps not as stunning as a lot of reviews claim, but by no means as bad as others claim either. Go into this film with an open mind, don’t abandon it after twenty minutes and be prepared to see a side of Dustin Hoffman that not many people probably expected to witness.