I keep thinking about this film…and trying to figure out what I want to share.
While watching Rod Lurie’s remake of Sam Peckinpah’s classic 1971 thriller, I couldn’t ignore the running dialogue inside my head comparing the two. This commentary actually enhanced the viewing experience for me, though, instead of intruding upon it.
Without the reference point of the original film, I think Lurie’s Straw Dogs would have seemed more exploitative to me than it does. As it stands, I can’t consider the new film separate from the original.
For an effective, in-your-face kind of film (and there is a visceral element in the new film that echoes key sequences in the original), I thought some of the smaller moments worked well, too.
Like, the contrast between how the husband and wife exercise: he skips rope a little in their bedroom (without dampening his loose-fitting clothes) before turning in for the night; she runs relentlessly down a dirt road (barefoot and braless) pushing herself to exhaustion.
There are other curious juxtapositions that tell a deeper story about relationships past and present. The inconveniences and the troubling parts and those that are worse than that are what gives the film more complexity than one would expect from this type of story.
I’m ambivalent about Lurie’s Straw Dogs but do continue to think about it from time to time.