Now Playing: Straw Dogs

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Rod Lurie, regrouping after the marginal release of his dumb political thriller Nothing But the Truth (2008), remakes the Sam Peckinpah classic about self-definition through violence. The original starred Dustin Hoffman as a meek mathematician who arrives in an English village with his sexy wife and becomes a target of local thugs; Lurie has turned the character into a Hollywood screenwriter (James Marsden) and transplanted the action to small-town Mississippi, but otherwise the story is the same. What has changed, however, is the audience consuming it: back in 1971, the Peckinpah film horrified moviegoers with its bloody climax, whereas today people are so vengeful and sadistic that the remake is just another multiplex crowd-pleaser. Rest assured, though, that the older movie’s flashes of frontal nudity have been responsibly eliminated. With Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, and James Woods; opens today in general release. A trailer for the remake and a clip from the original follow the jump.

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