When mild mannered American mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) moves with his wife Amy (Susan George’s nipples) to her home village in Cornwall, the last thing they find is the peace and quiet he was hoping for in order to write his book. Instead, the locals take a shine to Amy and mock David, showing contempt that such a bookish person could have the prize of the village. What follows is an escalation of abuse and provocations, brought to a head with the horrifically violent rape of Amy, the unrelenting and ambiguous portrayal of which caused problems for director Sam Peckinpah, with the film remaining unreleased on video/DVD in the UK until 2002. Hoffman is more believable as the pre-broken David than the near-psychopath he becomes post-rape, and the climax – as drunken locals lay siege to his house as he harbours the local simpleton in danger of being beaten to death plays out like an 18-rated Home Alone, with swinging paint cans, icy steps and a loose tarantula substituted with blaring bagpipe music, saucepans of boiling alcohol and a sprung bear trap.
Choose film 6/10