Straw Dogs (1971) was a film that Sam Peckinpah directed during the early seventies. He adapted the screenplay from the thriller novel "The Siege at Trencher's Farm). Dustin Hoffman stars as David Sumner, a mild mannered American Mathematician who moves to the English countryside with his wife Amy (Susan George). David has resettled to not only work on his book but to get away from the violence and turmoil that's going on in the "States". But the small town also happens to be the hometown of Amy. All of her old friends and lovers watch her showing off her well-to-do husband. The natives view David as a mealy mouth push over and clown on him all the time.
During the coming weeks, the bullying and insulting from Amy's lovers gradually gets to David. He can see how they treat him and his wife, but being a push over he does nothing but shrugs it off. He also notices a change in his wife's demeanor after a dangerous encounter with her former boyfriend who rapes her when David is partying with his "friends". He knows something traumatic has happened to her, but he still does nothing. All this changes one day when the village idiot Niles (an uncredited David Warner) accidentally kills a local girl. Seeking refuge from a group of vigilantes, the man turns to David. He does the only thing a kind person like him would do. Take in and protect Niles. The angry father and his buddies receive word of his where about and surround the home demanding that David release Niles.
David refuses, he wont hand him over to a ruthless mob that most certainly will kill Niles. He states that this is his home and he'll defend it no matter what the consequences are. This change in David scares his wife who pleads with him to give up Niles. After keeping her in check, he proceeds to defend the homestead. The father and his goons break in and David fends them off with his homemade traps and trusty shotgun. To him, it's not about what Niles did or why they even want him in the first place. This is David's home and whoever trespasses will be dealt a severe case of lead poisoning. After a brutal fight with the last two home invaders, David learns about his wife's rape from one of the invaders. Manning up, David and the rapist go at it one-on-one. After the smoke clears, all of the trespassers are dead and Amy's rapist have paid the ultimate price. A triumphant Davis takes Niles away. He has finally stood up an become a man.
For years people have been trying to figure this movie out. I have one simple explanation. The story is about a spineless man who one day just has enough of being pushed around and unleashes his pent of rage and anger towards his tormentors. No man can take that much abuse without delivering some pay back (according to Peckinpah). Others might disagree. Just how far will a man go to protect his home? Pretty far when it's all that he has left to call his own.
**** out of **** Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" is a stirring, often times riveting thriller; a film about violence, emotional destruction, social discrimination, and the limits of man. We've all seen movies like this for sure; there have been as many copycats as there have been predecessors. But who can put much blame on a filmmaker for having a keen eye for the violent acts committed in this world; the dark, dark side of humanity; and the sins of the human spirit. Peckinpah … more
A controversial film from director Sam Peckinpah. Starring Dustin Hoffman as Susan George. Based upon the novel "The Siege at Trencher's Farm." David Warner co-stars as well but is uncredited in the film.