Irish Film Institute -STRAW DOGS



U.K. • 1971 • COLOUR • 35MM • 117 MIN

Seeking refuge in a Cornish village from social turmoil in the States, an American mathematician (Dustin Hoffman) and his young English wife (Susan George) find their home under siege when they shelter a man (David Warner) suspected of molesting a young girl.
With its shocking rape scene and its orgy of climactic violence, Straw Dogs has lost little of its power over the years. ‘It’s about a guy who discovers a few nasty secrets about himself and his marriage,’ said Peckinpah, ‘and it’s about the violence in us all.’ Critical outrage was unconfined. It has been described as ‘Home Alone for psychopaths’, but, on re-viewing, I was reminded of the Ealing war classic Went the Day Well? (1942) as, step by step, the defences of civilisation are stripped away, leaving a stark choice between moral cowardice and ‘necessary’ murder. ‘He made movies about things he couldn’t explain, that people wouldn’t acknowledge were there,’ said his son-in-law, the screenwriter Gill Dennis. Straw Dogs is Peckinpah’s most disturbing conundrum about the human condition.

Book Tickets