Starring: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, & Alexander Skarsgard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
For the 30th anniversary of Dustin Hoffman's classic film, Straw Dogs, the studio decided instead of re-releasing a special edition, that they would do a modern re-make of the film. For those unfamiliar with the story, it features a local girl, from a small Mississippi town, who has returned home with her new husband, after making it big in Hollywood. Once back in town, the new couple needs some work on the old farm that she inherited and hire an old friend of hers to do the job. The team is the most qualified in town, but right from the start you can see the tension starting to build. Straw Dogs is far from being a unique story, but what I really enjoyed about it was how methodical it was. The jealousy and tension are obvious from the start, but they build it slowly, through a serious of events, which lends credibility to both sides of the argument. Things continue to build right up until the end of the film when all hell breaks loose, thanks to an incident that really shouldn't involve either the workers or the couple. James Marsden and Kate Bosworth star and are both very good, but the star that shines the brightest is Alexander Skarsgard. I've never seen him in anything before and had no expectations about the kind of job he'd do and I was blown away. He really had to play two different roles in this film and it leads to some shocking and unexpected moments. Comparing the 2011 re-make to the original film, the stories are very similar, whoever I found in parts where the original was a little slow, the re-make turns up the intensity, and that's the way things should be. A lot of re-makes don't even compare to the original and are seldom better, but in this case it was. The producers looked back at the old film and enhanced the parts of the original that were too slow or didn't make a whole lot of sense, before modernizing the whole thing. There are some people who will never admit to liking a re-make, but I think with Straw Dogs, the producers took a good film and turned it into a great one.