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Straw Dogs

Everyone has a breaking point.

The James Marsden/Kate Bosworth film “Straw Dogs” is a re-make of a 1971 movie of the same name that starred Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. The original film was directed by Sam Peckinpah and in some circles is regarded as a minor classic. It is also somewhat legendary due to the violence contained in the film. The new version is also violent but seems to mute some of the effect by being a revenge tale, more so than in the original. David (Marsden) and Amy (Bosworth) move back to her hometown of Blackwater, LA. They are there to fix up her family home and put it on the market. David, a Hollywood screenwriter, is also there to finish a script. They are only home a short time when they meet up with a man named Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard). Charlie and Amy dated in high school and he appears glad to see her back home. David and Amy get drawn into the drama of the town, especially the wild rantings and ravings of Coach (James Woods). He has it in for Jeremy Niles (Dominic Purcell), a mentally challenged young man. Jeremy’s brother Daniel (Walton Goggins) tries to protect him but he is not always around when Coach goes into one of his tirades against Niles. The movie leaves a lot of the story to the audiences’ imagination and determination. Does Amy flirt with Charlie? Is David too meek at the start of the film? Does Charlie love Amy or does he just lust after her? What is David’s breaking point? How you feel about each of these points will influence how much you enjoy the film. The acting in the film is solid with Marsden being above average as usual. This guy is so versatile he can play any role. Bosworth makes an impression as Amy but she isn’t as defined in her role as Marsden is in his. Skarsgard is a fan favorite from “True Blood” and he certainly brings a sexy, swaggering persona to this film. The real star of this film is James Woods. No one can play crazy like Woods and he pulls out all the stops for this role. And it pays off as he virtually steals the movie. Good actors like Goggins and Anson Mount are lackluster in small cameo parts. If you like movies that build up to a colossal battle then you are going to enjoy “Straw Dogs.” It is a film about revenge and violence, and it keeps audiences glued to the screen from beginning to end. Courtesy Jackie K Cooper,
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Directed by: 
Rod Lurie
Running Time: 
James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, Dominic Purcell, James Woods
Screenplay by: 
Rod Lurie

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