Rod Lurie‘s intention to remake Sam Peckinpah‘s 1971 classic Straw Dogs is perhaps the most inspired idea he’s ever had as far as movie-directing material is concerned. Lurie is a bit of a tough guy and a man’s man (as anachronistic as that may sound), and I’m betting that he understands better than most what makes the original Dogs a great (certainly a near-great) work.
The story, based on a book called “The Siege of Trencher’s Farm,” strikes all kinds of primal macho chords, all of them tethered to the territorial imperative (i.e., the defense of one’s wife and home, and the small-town repelling of exotic invaders). I know that I’ve never felt so aroused and “with” the violence in any film as I have with Peckinpah’s original, which costars Dustin Hoffman and Susan George .
At the very least Lurie’s effort will inspire everyone to re-watch and re-assess the original, which is the second or third-best Peckinpah film ever made (after The Wild Bunch and Ride The High Country). The downside, of course, is that Lurie is asking for trouble. The odds are not overwhelming that he’s going to out-point or out-gun Peckinpah’s version (it being so perfectly cast, so beautifully edited, so full of ominous vibes). Lurie might be able to match the original, but any director would have a difficult time making a better film. But I respect Lurie’s courage in deciding to do it anyway.