Posted by: C.E. Chambers | September 17, 2011

“Straw Dogs” (2011) Film Review: Totally Trash

STRAW DOGS (2011) Film Review: Totally Trash

 

By C.E. Chambers   Posted September 17, 2011

Mr. Seatmate (my husband) and I were so disturbed by this film last night that we forgot to take care of a pressing business need afterwards.  Arriving home, I watched the Jimmy Fallon show in which he interviewed the lead actress, Kate Bosworth.  This is what Fallon said about “Straw Dogs”:  “It will ruin people.”  And, “It’s going to give me nightmares the rest of my life.”

Was Fallon kidding?  He didn’t appear to be.

I’m not kidding.  This is the most despicable film I’ve ever seen.  Hollywood may have hit a new low.  Besides the heavy emphasis on “psychotic violence” (read Mr. Seatmate’s capsule critique here), and the well-worn stereotype that depicts “Christians” as outrageous hypocrites, it’s set in America’s rural South where white men are portrayed as sinister gun-toting, beer-swigging, lazy employees who are hostile to newcomers.  Adding to the over-worked and dishonest cliché-ridden plot is a thinly disguised dig against the U.S. military.

The inclusion of a prolonged rape is like adding poisoned icing to a cake already heavily laced with strychnine.

It’s the remake of an American-made film from 1971 whose characters lived in Britain.  While retaining most of the crucial elements of the first film, the setting for this one was moved to Mississippi.  A very convenient way for contemporary Hollywood moviemakers to interject bigoted material.

The first “Straw Dogs” sparked heated controversy over “the perceived increase of violence in cinema” and its “debasement of women” (read here).

Amy (Kate Bosworth), one of the lead characters, aggressively fights against her “Christian” ex-boyfriend when he tries to rape her — and when he overpowers her, she’s made to look at one point as if she’s enjoying it.  Lurking in the background and off camera is the boyfriend’s beady-eyed, menacing black-bearded buddy who takes over when the first rapist is spent.  He’s also a church goer.

Amy is portrayed as almost deserving of the rape:  deliberately undressing in front of a window while her ex-boyfriend and his simmering, creepy friends watch with their mouths hanging open.  Her new husband, David, a normally pleasant, intellectual Hollywood writer, ominously complains when she jogs in slinky tank tops without a bra in the sultry Mississippi climate.  (He prefers to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.)

For a character who walks out of a well-attended church service because he isn’t “religious,” David seems to enjoy threatening his wife with terminology from the Bible that refers to “reaping and sowing.”

Why do some moviemakers seem to relish the sexual denigration of women by exposing them — via actresses playing a role — to real live men who may already be on the precipice of a heat-seeking psychosis?  Is there terminology for the twisted ethics of movie industry insiders who only vilify people from a particular faith while simultaneously striving to become wealthy by endangering a particular gender?

The town’s football coach — a “Christian” who mouths Bible verses along with his pastor during a church service — is an iconic, emotional powder keg with a short fuse who has a daughter who tries to seduce a mentally handicapped man.  She knows that being alone with him can jeopardize his well-being if not his life.

Some of the other suit-wearing churchgoers easily strip down to sweaty muscle shirts and abhorrent, illegal behavior outside the boundaries of the physical sanctuary and aggressively ride around in a dusty, red truck that displays large stickers: “Keep honking; I’m just reloading.”  And, “These colors don’t run.”

One of these “rednecks” accuses David of belonging to the “educated” class of  people who believe in “global warming.”  Their pastor gives a sermon from Revelation in a fervent, trembling voice, and, of course, prays for a particular football team to win an upcoming game.  He asks God to “please protect those from here who are serving overseas.”

Finally, the blood-thirsty “Christians” wage a full-blown epic battle against Amy and her husband and the mentally handicapped man.  The agnostic Hollywood writer has no choice but to turn the tables against the unhinged “Christians.”

Plot spoiler:  A “Christian” African-American sheriff is killed by the white “Christians.”

Is it a coincidence that two Hollywood-generated films are currently playing in theaters that portray characters from Mississippi?  Is it a coincidence that both films contain Caucasian “Christian” characters who are thoroughly unlikable and incompetent?  While I highly recommend “The Help” (a miraculous balance is achieved between extremely sensitive subject matter and the characters who play out a real-life drama inspired by a novel set in the 1960s), “Straw Dogs” is just trash.

I used to incorporate icons along with my critiques when I worked as a film critic for a print publication.  One depicted a dump truck.  Look for it at some point to be displayed alongside deserving films such as this one.

Question:  Will StarvingEyes – the same company that recently released an online video game that allows users to vicariously murder politicians and cable news commentators whose political beliefs are different from the ultra-liberal left — create a video game that allows users to “kill” blood-thirsty, rapacious white “Christians” who attack an innocent Hollywood insider and his wife?

“Straw Dogs” is rated a hypocritical “R”: Inexplicable horrific, extended violence by “Christian” characters against an innocent man and his wife who are protecting a wounded guest in their home.  Cold-blooded murder of a policeman seeking to stop increasing violence against innocent parties.  The rape scene has an aura of provocativeness that may be considered “sexy” by thrill seekers who have become inured to scenes of violence against women.  Extremely foul language.  Heavy Christian-character assassination.]

NOTE:  If readers would like to know the names of the other actors in this film, pull up the lengthy review from an experienced film critic who described the impossible-to-miss Christian-bashing as “A subplot involv[ing] the way the town centers on high school football and local church services, which interlock sports and religion.”

[The “warning” image is from rakishfatloss.com]

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Responses

  1. Cel mai bun articol despre Straw Dogs (2011) Film Review:
    Totally Trash pe care l-am citit ORA exacta
    pana acum!


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