Straw Dogs Ending Explained & Film Analysis

Cruelty, fortitude, fire: the meaning of the drama “Straw Dogs”.

The meaning of the film “Straw Dogs” (the original title of Straw Dogs) is generally clear. The protagonist of this very sharp drama clearly demonstrates that in order to save yourself and your loved ones, you can do anything, even turn into a shaped beast, if circumstances so require.

However, the plot is interesting in that it reveals the reasons for the transformation, and this already requires understanding what has been seen.

The plot

Country : USA

Genre : thriller, drama, crime

Year of production : 2011

Director : Rod Lurie

Cast : James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, James Wood

tagline : “Everyone has their limit”

The essence of the film “Straw Dogs” can hardly be called fresh and original. Similar content can be seen in many paintings. However, you want to watch this film without stopping, because the events here are developing sharply and dynamically, therefore it is difficult to predict exactly where the storyline will turn.

That is why we traditionally begin our analysis of the meaning with a brief description of the plot. The director’s idea revolves around disagreements between representatives of different strata of society. Amy Sumner was born and raised in a small provincial town in the south of the country. This is one of those places where nothing changes for years, and the only entertainment is football and hunting.

Kate BosworthKate Bosworth played the role of Amy Sumner. Frame from the film.

Consequently, the coach and players invariably become the unspoken elite of this tiny world. However, Amy turned out to be a smart girl, and decided that such a life was not for her. After school, she moved to Los Angeles, where she managed to star in the series and marry promising screenwriter David.

Straw Dogs begins with the couple traveling to the city of Amy’s youth, where David is going to work on a book about the Battle of Stalingrad in a quiet environment. The guy is interested in this period of the Second World War, when the Soviet troops, who controlled only a small part of Stalingrad, were able to defeat the German group of troops, inferior to it in numbers.

On the very first evening, David and Amy go to a local bar, where they meet the local elite of society. Charlie Werner once dated Amy, but then she left. The guy is a former football player, and contracts with David to block the roof of the barn. Also, the main characters see a local coach who has been out of work for a long time, but continues to be an iconic figure.

Alexander SkarsgardAlexander Skarsgård as Charlie Werner. Frame from the film.

The old man abuses alcohol, constantly quarrels and suspects the local crazy Jeremy Niles that he is stalking his daughter. However, 15-year-old Janice Heddon herself reaches out to the guy, despite the displeasure of her dad.

The first prerequisites for conflict are created the very next morning. Charlie and his friends arrive too early and loud music wakes up David. Then one of the workers easily enters the house to take a beer from the refrigerator. The screenwriter makes a remark, Charlie, but the rough edges can be ironed out. The workers promise to arrive an hour later.

Charlie and his buddies then drive to David’s house and spot Amy jogging in the morning. The guys frankly stare at the slender and oblivious girl, at the same time chiding Charlie that he missed the tidbit. At home, Amy tells her husband about what happened, but he does not attach much importance to this, immersed in work. An angry girl climbs into the bath and deliberately undresses in front of the open window in front of the workers. This is seen by Charlie, in whose soul resentment is ripening.

Further conflict develops rapidly. Charlie hits on David, whom he doesn’t think is a man. However, the screenwriter is trying in every possible way to get away from open confrontation. However, it cannot continue like this. Charlie and his buddies invite David to hunt.

James MarsdenScreenwriter David is played by James Marsden. Frame from the film.

He, believing that the guys want to improve relations, agrees. However, everything is not so simple. Charlie and his friend Norman are not thinking of hunting. Instead, they break into the couple’s home, where they take turns raping Amy. Other members of this company throw David in the woods with a gun. The screenwriter manages to shoot the deer, but he doesn’t know how to get home. He walks out onto the road, where he is picked up by a local deputy sheriff. From him, David learns that the deer hunting season has not yet arrived, and they simply wanted to set him up.

Returning home, he fires Charlie and his gang. Amy offers to leave, but her husband does not agree. Then the girl says that then they should live like everyone else, and the couple go to a traditional football match.

Here begins the denouement of the story. Janice lures Niles into the back room where she tries to have sex with him. An angry father is looking for her, and Jeremy, fearing that the coach will beat him again, covers the girl’s mouth with his hand. Janice suffocates, and the madman runs away in horror. Jeremy is hit by the car of David and Amy, who had left the match earlier. The scriptwriter calls an ambulance and takes the victim to his home.

Charlie and Norman hear this call on their walkie-talkie installed in the car and report it to the coach. The entire drunken company goes to the house of the Sumners to deal with Jeremy. The spouses lock all the doors and are not going to let anyone in. A sheriff’s deputy drives up to the house, who asks David to open the door, arguing that everything will be according to the law. The inflamed coach kills the policeman, and now the whole company is trying to break into the house. For them, David and Amy are witnesses to a crime that need to be disposed of. Spouses can only protect their home by all available means.


Ending explanation

The meaning of the ending of the film “Straw Dogs” can be reduced to one phrase that David says against the backdrop of a burning barn. The protagonist says: “I got everything.” The interpretation can be twofold, but the general meaning can be reduced to the following. David was working on a book about the Battle of Stalingrad and admired the Soviet fighters who not only withstood the superior forces of the enemy, but also managed to win.

At the end of the film, the hero finds himself in a similar situation. He does not know how to handle weapons, and he is not in the house. At the same time, he has to confront armed people, of whom there are more. However, even with improvised means, the screenwriter copes with this task quite well.

From this perspective, the explanation of the ending can be as follows. The hero was able to immerse himself in the atmosphere about which he was trying to write a book. He faced unprecedented cruelty, but at the same time he did not give up his beliefs, he was able to survive and win.

You can be sure that David will write a book just great. Relationships with your spouse will also improve. If earlier Amy considered her husband to be dead, now she saw that side of his character that had previously remained hidden to her.

meeting at the barKate Bosworth as Amy Sumner, James Marsden as David, Alexander Skarsgård as Charlie. Frame from the film.

The meaning of the film

Unlike the ending, the point of Straw Dogs is in its title. The answer lies in the plot itself. In one scene, David compares Charlie and his buddies to straw dogs. In ancient China, straw dogs were used for various ceremonies, after which they were thrown away or burned as unnecessary.

It is in this comparison that the hidden meaning lies. Charlie and his friends, including the trainer, were once such ceremonial dogs. The town lives for football, and the guys were local stars. However, their time has long passed, they have gone into circulation, although they continue to consider themselves an elite.

However, against the background of the more successful Amy and David, the worthlessness of these guys literally sticks out. They try to show themselves as the main ones, taking advantage of the gentle nature of the screenwriter. The guys work carelessly, decide that everything is allowed for them and they can take what they want, including the woman they like.

However, when the company crosses the Rubicon, it burns in the fire of David’s hatred, which he unleashes. He is weaker in body, but stronger in spirit. If we consider the explanation of the film “Straw Dogs” in the form of an allegory, then David is the master of ceremonies who disposed of the dogs that became useless from the straw.

James MarsdenPictured is James Marsden. Frame from the film.

Similar films

  • “I spit on your graves” (USA, 2010). Jennifer Hills is working on a novel in a quiet lake house, however, her idyll is interrupted by several local rapists. The victim manages to survive, and now she will take revenge on everyone.
  • “Judgment Night” (USA, 2013). The only night of the year when any murder and crime is allowed in America, but what to do when this evil comes to your house?
  • “Law Abiding Citizen” (USA, 2009). Clyde Shelton lost his wife and daughter during a robbery, and decided to prove the imperfection of the justice system.
  • “While she was gone” (Germany, USA, Canada, 2008). The confrontation between a simple housewife and a gang of local hooligans who do not even know who they have contacted.
  • “The Last House on the Left” (USA, 1972). A party of two girlfriends is interrupted by a gang of thugs who decide to have some fun with the girls.
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