He’s really a nice guy.
Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs – In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Peckinpah’s classic, Straw Dogs (1971) is a classic thriller from director Sam Peckinpah and stars the young, two time Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman (Meet the Faukers, Outbreak) and Susan George (The House Where Evil Dwells) in a film where a young American (Hoffman) and his wife (George) moved to a rural in England town for peace and quiet but they are met with harassment.
In Straw Dogs (1971) David Sumner (Hoffman) is just your average, timid, American mathematician, married to his exotic and flirtatious new wife Amy (George). They move into an old farmhouse just on the outskirts of a small English village. It is obvious in the opening scene that David is treated as an outsider in this town, although he chooses to ignore it and instead focus on his work. His wife feels neglected, and thus she enjoys teasing David–altering one of his math equations on the chalk board in his study. She, Amy, even teases with the locals working on their farmhouse. The town is already dealing with Henry (David Warner) and it’s rumored he raped one of the local children; the last thing they needed was for some American befriending Henry.
Director Peckinpah’s psychological thriller was successful in building just the right amount of tension between David and the local villagers. Hoffman, who is perfect in his role as the humble pacifist, whom when backed into a corner, comes out fighting. George is perfect in her role as Amy, who also is a complex character, and being paired with Hoffman adds to the on-screen believe-ability. When time comes for David to protect his home and Henry, it becomes curious to watch, as he uses his intellect to outwit the brutal villagers. It wasn’t just about protecting his wife; he did not know that she was raped by 2 of the 5 men who were attacking his home–it was about protecting his domain–man’s last stand. There is the controversial rape scene–horrible–but not visually “graphic.”
In reviewing the unrated-version of Straw Dogs (1971) in its new, solid Blu-ray transfer, as it’s been carefully restored in a 1080p: AVC encoded transfer and framed in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. When pictured on a 50-inch, flat screen plasma TV I did not notice much film grain, and it was actually only in certain “close-ups” when you would notice these small changes in quality. When pictured against the darker scenes, you notice “white specks” that do not disrupt viewing quality. Color the cinematography are as clear as it possible could get–when pictured some of the darker scenes in the film–like during the home invasion–it can get truly dark and difficult seeing who’s who at times. Regardless to the minor detailed descriptiveness, Straw Dogs (1971) makes a brilliant presentation on Blu-ray.
Lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presents clear verbal dialogue and the brief musical score did not sound imbalanced with the other incidences occurring onscreen–windows being smashed, shotgun blasts, shouting, ambiance etc., all were heard clearly and nothing overly done–no audio dropouts or fading, just clean, crisp sound. Straw Dogs (1971) is approximately 118-minutes and the unrated version of the film. There was no initial preview trailers familiar to many new disc releases. The disc just proceeds to the film without the main menu intro/options.
In the eyes of every coward burns a straw dog.