Thursday, 15 November 2012

straw dogs 1971 and 2011

Both of these versions of Straw Dogs have pretty much the same story.  The wife returns to her childhood home with her new intellectual husband, who tries to fit in with the locals, one of whom is a past love interest of the wife.  She starts feeling some dissatisfaction towards her husband due to him not paying her enough attention while he is trying to work, not standing up for himself, and being 'manly' enough.  She also flirts with the locals who are hired to do some building work,  with disastrous results.  There's a sub plot involving a 'village idiot' type who accidentally kills a young girl (lifted from John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice to Men'), who the husband then decides to protect from the mob, who try to storm the family home.  This gives the placid intellectual no choice.  He has to man up or die.  There's violence a plenty once the action starts, and you could argue about who is to blame, how it all escalates, the consequences of keeping secrets, responsibility for actions, at what point decisiveness is required, and how and when the law should become involved.  Both films have the backdrop of the countries at war, and the intellectuals opposing it (Vietnam in the 1971 filmAfghanistan / Iraq in the 2011 one), while the common folk are lauded for their fighting ability and dedication to the cause (and in a roundabout way, their own territory.  I thought the original film was head and shoulders above the remake, as Dustin Hoffman and Susan George made it all so much more believable.  The Americans also always have to make slight tweaks which annoy me, such as the husband becoming better looking and a war expert, (rather than a mathematician), and the thugs become ex football stars, (rather than everyday builders).  The first film also looks grittier and darker, whereas l find the American version brighter but more clich├ęd.  I'm sure if l was Born in the USA (like Bruce Springsteen) and hadn't seen the first film, l would have enjoyed it a lot more, but l can't remove the images and memories that are already engraved in my head.  So l didn't.

toodle pip

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