Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 film Straw Dogs remains controversial since its release.
Whilst undoubtedly a fine film, bolstered by exceptional performances courtesy of Dustin Hoffman and Susan George, its central misogyny, particularly in the rape of Susan George’s Amy, is certainly objectionable.
Despite Peckinpah’s defenders, there is, for me, far too great an element of ambiguity during the initial rape of Amy to ever truly insist that Peckinpah’s film really condemns the actions of Charlie. Amy’s terror is not consistent – whilst it is certainly reinstated with the second rapist – her requests for Charlie to hold her after he has committed the act are both repugnant and reprehensible.
It is with interest then that I view the trailer for the remake of this film, set to be released later this year. Starring Kate Bosworth, James Marsden and Alexander Skarsgård, the remake appears to be a simple update to the original, featuring the same set-pieces and in some instances the very same lines used in the 1971 film. What most interests me about this film, and will surely determine whether this remake is necessary, is the manner chosen in which to portray the rape scene. Will the ambiguity remain or will this remake rightfully revile Charlie’s actions?