"Straw Dogs (1971/Unrated Version Blu-ray/MGM)" Review

Synopsis: To escape the Vietnam-era chaos in the U.S., American mathematician David Sumner (Hoffman) moves with his British wife Amy (George) to an isolated English village.  Their presence provokes antagonism among the village's men.  Escalating from routine bullying to the gang rape of his wife, David finds his pacifist self being backed into a corner and responds in the violent and gruesome manner he abhors.

Review: This film is another one of those controversial classic that I have passed up for so many years and for far too many times. I guess it was the fact that I was just not quite ready for it and what it was about. After my first viewing I am left kinda split on weather I liked it or not, because I loved the overall story and especially the ending but not sure about the rest of the film. To some people this film seems to revolve around the rape scene controversy and if you really look beyond that part of it you get something more deep about human behavior.

It really shows that no matter how much we try to be civil we all have our breaking point and will do what we need to survive and stand up for what we believe in no matter how heinous or brutal the act is that we must do. In alot of ways this film acts out more as a modern day western and does a great job at that. Some of the things that shine through about Straw Dogs is the actors that are involved, they play perfectly with one another to create an atmosphere that becomes more and more tense until the beautifully violent ending. 

I guess the only thing that I ever really had a complaint about is the length of this film and really it's not a big complaint at all. I just found that at times it seemed to drag a bit which in alot of ways can happen to any film. The further I get into this review the more I realize that I like this film more than I was initially thinking. To me the thing that made this film that much more better for me is Dustin Hoffman in a role that I had really never seen him do, he plays great as the city man who acts like he is non-violent but at the same time treats his wife like dirt in some ways which is different from his role in The Graduate and especially from his role in Meet The Fockers.

The transfer on this blu-ray release looks great, they kept all the grain intact and  looks like they cleaned it up very well, now I cannot give any comment on how much better it is that any of the former DVD releases but I think it probably is worth the upgrade none the less. They also did a great job with the audio as well, there is really nothing I could gripe about in the overall presentation of this film. The only thing I found odd was that there is no special features like you get with the Criterion DVD release and there is no main menu at all.

Overall this was a great film from a director who I am a fan of after watching his western masterpiece "The Wild Bunch" and this I consider his masterpiece in the drama genre.

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: JSam Peckinpah
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Blu-Ray Release Year: 2011
Theatrical Release Year: 1971
Time Length: 118 mins.
Company: MGM Home Entertainment
Website: www.mgm.com

Tech Aspects:
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1 
Codec: AVC @ 31 MBPS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French