Straw Dogs

Bomb Rating: 

Among many questions this Sam Peckinpah film raises is whether or not blatant misogyny deserves to be forgiven just because a film was made in 1971 instead of 1999. In other words, because Peckinpah was an old fart who couldn't fathom women as equals, should he be forgiven because he just didn't know any better? Was he a great director or a scumbag who just happened to be able to hold a camera steady?

This film suggests the latter. After all, this was 1971 and, more or less, the height of the women's equality movement. Peckinpah had had nine years to listen to Betty Friedan yap on about how women wanted to get out of the kitchen and do something useful, but apparently all Sammy picked up was that a woman was even more useful if she wasn't wearing a bra.

Essentially, this is the role of Amy Sumner (Susan George), who gets raped for her efforts and must endure the whining of her cowardly husband, David (Dustin Hoffman). Oh, sorry, that's the feminist perspective. In Peckinpah's world, it's David who must endure the harassment of Amy, who insists that he do something about the British guys who work for them. They've moved to England (Amy being British) so that David can work on a book about astrophysics. Unfortunately, Amy's constant blabbering keeps him from his work and eventually drives him up the wall.

How the two of them ever got married is a complete mystery. Essentially, the message of the movie is that in order to win a woman's respect, a man has got to put on a pair of testicles and kick the crap out of somebody bigger than him.

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