What makes Peckinpah's films unsettling to this day is that they always feel intensely personal, like you're getting a glimpse into his violent, whiskey-soaked soul, and this one is no exception. As usual Peckinpah doesn't skimp on the violence; I knew as soon as I saw Chekov's mantrap that it was going end up clamped down on some fool's head. A highly effective and morally-complex thriller.
Nicely paced psychological thriller.
The tension just keeps on ratchetting up in this excellent psychological thriller which is essentially a study of violence and cruelty. Despite being 40 years old it still packs a punch with moments of almost unwatchle, uncomfortable viewing. Dustin Hoffman is especially good. 4 stars.
Hoffman at his best, one of his earlier Movies, and well worth watching. This version is much better than the 2012 re-make!
Sam Peckinpah's seminal exploration of instinctive violence is always worth a re-visit. Highly controversial in its day, time has barely dulled the film's ferocity and daring, uncompromising approach. Hoffman's performance as the mild-mannered mathematician driven to confront his inner-animal is quite incredible, the support cast is strong and Peckinpah's no-holds-barred direction keeps the tension mounting. As the insipid 2011 remake showed only too clearly - they don't make 'em like this anymore.
We found this to be a poor performance by the brilliant Dustin Hoffman.
David (Dustin Hoffman) and Amy (Susan George) move into an isolated farmhouse a few miles from Lands End in the south-west of England with the nearest village more than three miles away. David, doing research into an obscure branch of mathematics, would be regarded as a nerd in urban America where he comes from, but the rugged village tradesmen, whom he hires to work on the roof of the barn next to the house, come to regard him as just 'a bit strange'. The attractive Amy, whose father used to live in the farmhouse, went to school in the area, and had a short affair with Charlie, one of the roof tilers, and he goes out of his way to remind her of it in front of her husband. David is intimidated both by Charlie and his three mates, who mock him behind his back. Amy, bored with nothing to do most of the day while David sweats over his equations, provides an added interest for them by flouncing around the house bra-less. They suggest to David one day that they go out on a shoot, and to show a bit of manly spirit, he accepts. They do the beating while he pops the birds, but warn him that there might be a long wait before the birds start to fly. David doesn't realize that the shoot is a ruse to give Charlie time to call on Amy, while he's out of the house. From here on the festering tension between the couple and the locals, always suspicious of city-dwellers, starts to escalate. Taken from the novel, 'The Siege at Trencher's Farm', there is a 20 minute sequence at the end of this movie of gradually increasing violence which is perhaps the most riveting and spectacle sequence ever put on film. Previous to that there is a disturbing rape scene (easily negotiated by closing your eyes) which is a prelude to the battle that follows. Susan George and Dustin Hoffman are simply superb, and the director, Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch) brilliant in his pacing and staging of the last incredible scene.
Might be aging a bit but the violence will still keep you riveted to your seat.
Sam Peckinpah delivers yet another relentless climax. Takes a while to get moving. Quite violent!
Creates effective tension despite contrived situation.
The characters are a bit too typecast but it's worth watching to see an early film and how it handles violent situations