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Straw Dogs

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Susan George, Dustin Hoffman, ...
Straw Dogs: Kobal Collection

The maverick director Sam Peckinpah was a good 15 years older than many other revolutionaries of 1970s cinema, and oftentimes his movies were that much more mature. Take Straw Dogs, whose blood-soaked climax nastily echoed the blindsiding Peckinpah unleashed on audiences with 1969’s ”The Wild Bunch.” As we’re reminded in this two-disc set’s rich supplements, viewers were polarized. One critic labeled ”Dogs” ”misanthropic” and ”a fascist classic” — and that was in a positive notice. Today it’s as provocative as ever. (Much like the current jaw-dropper ”Irréversible,” ”Dogs” features a brutal eight-minute rape scene.) As it follows a passive American geek (Dustin Hoffman) who flees his nation’s social upheaval by moving to the rural hometown of his comely English wife (Susan George), ”Dogs” rapidly devolves into a fable with no moral, the story of an ordinary guy who doesn’t have to dig far to summon a frightening primal vengeance when his home is viciously attacked. Three decades later, nothing could be more timely.