Ben Hopkins

A compendium of words by Ben.

Posts Tagged ‘James Marsden

Straw Dogs

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From the current issue of Clash.

Purists beware: the screenplay to Sam Peckinpah’s original Straw Dogs didn’t contain a single reference to the Saw franchise. Truth be told, this reworking of the notorious 1971 movie isn’t too radical a departure. The action is transported from Cornwall to Mississippi, and our persecuted couple have new jobs; Amy (Kate Bosworth) is now a minor TV actress, albeit a huge star in the context of her hometown, while David (James Marsden) is a scriptwriter (only a scriptwriter could signify a sexy intellectualism by making a character a scriptwriter).

The tone, however, isn’t quite there. As the camera fetishes Bosworth’s body with lingering shots of her in short shorts, the film’s sexuality becomes glamorous rather than grimy, accentuated by lead agitator Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård) hulking around like a mildly threatening character from a Twilight movie. The cinematography’s palette – now rich with the colours of a warm summer evening – only accentuates the issue.

It’s the reprised issues from the original that work best here; vigilantism, the battle between brain and brawn, the exploration of violence. Essentially adequate if flawed, a notably weakened remake is still by definition redundant. These sleeping Straw Dogs, it seems, should’ve been left to lie.

Written by Ben Hopkins

November 8, 2011 at 11:42 am


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