Could Skarsgård be any hotter? My review of Straw Dogs

Rod Lurie, director of Nothing But the Truth. ...

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So, I saw a special screening of Rod Lurie‘s Straw Dogs re-make. I liked it. The plot was a bit slow, but the characters were complex (not to mention beautiful), the cinematography was great, and the ending wowed me. I haven’t seen the original, but apparently it didn’t stray too far plotwise. The characters, however, seem to be completely different from the 1971 version.

Here’s a quick character sketch – I don’t want to give too much away, since the movie won’t come out for another year or so.

Amy Sumner (Kate Bosworth) – She’s an actress, probably B-list at best. She met her husband, David, on a television show they worked on together. She’s from Blackwater, Mississppi. Former cheerleader and Charlie’s girl, she left town as soon as she could for the bright lights and opportunity of LA. Bosworth plays this difficult role with grace.

David Sumner (James Marsden) – He’s a famous writer, currently working on a movie about the battle of Stalingrad. He’s taking some time off to write in the peaceful town of Blackwater, Mississippi. He drives an expensive sports car (forgive me, I forgot what kind), in a town where pick-up trucks are the norm. He wears loafers, in a town where work boots are a staple. Bascially, he’ s a yuppy invading a “backwater” town. This idea of “invading” plays a central role in the movie. Marsden somehow makes the viewer root for this snoody character.

Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård) – Former football champion and town hero. He left Backwater on a full college football scholarship, but returned when he hurt his knee. Now he works on houses for a living. A poor living. Sumner refers to him as a straw dog: something that was built up and worshiped, and then gotten rid of when it lost its initial value. Charlie spends a lot of time with his abs and arms showing, and his creepy grin a-flashin’ at Amy. Skarsgard does an excellent job at playing this bitter, confused, character.

Coach (James Woods) – This guy is crazy! He’s Charlie’s former high school football coach. Now he’s the town drunk that gets his way due to his celebrity status as ex-coach. His only redeeming quality is his love for his teenage daughter, Janice (who isn’t all that likeable). Woods did an excellent job playing this wacko and instigator.

Jeremy Niles (Dominic Purcell) – Jeremy suffers from some undefined type of mental handicap. He’s represented as the innocent of the town. He doesn’t understand society’s vision of right and wrong. But society doesn’t understand him. People frequently yell at him, and warn him to stay away from the girls (it’s implied that he did something wrong before). Lurie said that he has an animal’s innocence and instinct: he’s not capable of cruelty, only humans are. Jeremy Niles was my favorite character of the entire movie. He seemed so real, and all I wanted to do was give him a hug and see him smile. But that would just get him in trouble. Purcell completely sold me on his character.

Overall, I’d give this movie 3.5/5 stars…okay, maybe 4 since Skarsgård, Bosworth, and Marsden are gorgeous.

Have any questions? Let me know!

-ashley christiano

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