First of all if you have not seen the original 1971 'Straw Dogs' with Dustin Hoffman you need to watch it now. It is one of those great movies from the 70's that I can't see being done any better. There is something about the gritty filmmaking that adds so much personality to the film, and that feel just can't be replicated.
The one good thing about it is that James Marsden has been cast as the lead role. I think Marsden is a great actor and has the ability to take on any kind of role and bring the character to life. The movie is also being directed by Rod Lurie who directed films such as 'The Last Castle' and 'Resurrecting the Champ'.
They have already made drastic changes to the story. The original film took place in rural England which is a great setting for this kind of story. Now it looks like it takes place in America? Come on. THR reports:
The new "Straw Dogs" follows Los Angeles screenwriter David Sumner (Marsden), who moves with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, leading to a violent confrontation.
The movie is actually based on a book called 'The Siege at Trencher's Farm' by Gordon M. Williams. I am not sure if this new adaptation will follow the story of the book more closely than the original movie did, but they still have the setting wrong. Here is the plot of the story.
An American professor George Magruder is writing an English style book and so he can be inspired has agreed to his wife's request to relocate to rural England so she can show their daughter the kind of childhood she had. They rent and old isolated house known as Trencher's Farm in the area of Dando. George is a quite shy and reserved and when the local tavern patrons make it clear they don't want him around decides to make no real effort trying to get to the know the locals. Amongst the small town population are a number of uneducated, racist bigots who have never gone more than a few kilometres out of town let alone seen the world (except a few that had to go fight in World War 1 but have dismissed the outside world). Since they can't see George doing any work they assume he is a rich snobby American and the fact he has an attractive wife only makes the situation worse. Meanwhile Niles a convicted child killer with the mentality of an 8 year old finds himself on the lose when the ambulance he is in crashes in the snow on route back to the mental asylum. George unfortunately hits the nearly frozen to death Niles with his car and when asking the tavern to call an ambulance for the man instead receives on his doorstep drunk locals wanting to torture and kill Niles who they wrongly assume knows the whereabouts of Janice Hedden a mentally disabled girl who has gone missing. George knows there is no way Niles would have had time to kidnap the girl as he was hitting him with his car moments after the girl went missing but this explanation falls on death ears to the men to drunk or brain dead to listen. What follows is a test for George, for himself Karen and Louise to survive he's going to have to go against all his beliefs, embrace violence and become the very type of man he despises.
The story is very violent and livid with hate. This movie came out the same year as 'A Clockwork Orange' and there was more controversy surrounding 'Straw Dogs' than 'Clockwork'. I doubt this new film will live up to the story reputation. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I hope they make a good movie out of it!
Source: Amazon, THR