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The Woodsman (2004)

Cast: Kevin Bacon, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, more...
Director: Nicole Kassell, Nicole Kassell
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Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama, Independent
Running Time: 87 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Writer/director Nicole Kassell makes her feature film debut with the drama The Woodsman. Co-written by Steven Fechter, the original script won first place at the Slamdance Screenplay Competition in 2001. Kevin Bacon plays Walter, a child molester who gets out of prison after serving a 12-year sentence. He returns to his old town and tries to start over by working at a woodyard. Fortunately, his brother-in-law (Benjamin Bratt) helps him get a place to live. He even strikes up a relationship with local gal Vickie (Bacon's real-life wife, Kyra Sedgwick). However, Walter still struggles with his past and the suspicions of co-worker Mary-Kay (Eve) and Detective Lucas (Mos Def). The Woodsman premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the dramatic competition. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Difficult Subject, Flawless Acting by soulcake17 December 3, 2007 - 11:54 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
The acting in this film blew me away, plain and simple. Both Kevin Bacon's anguished ex-con/pedophile and Mos Def's chilly, cynical P.O. performances, in particular, were noteworthy.

What's most extraordinary about this film is that it makes a monster ('child molester') human without making him necessarily overly sympathetic. As the film begins, we understand that he's getting out of prison, though we don't know the nature of his crimes. When those are revealed, we're shocked and a little repulsed, and become even more so when it becomes clear that his dangerous impulses have not entirely been laid to rest - at all.

That said, we don't necessarily hate or condemn his character either - we see how he struggles with his compulsion and we simultaneously root for him to not to give in to it while we prepare to crucify him if he does. I find this a brave example of filmmaking, firstly because of it's subject matter and secondly because it refuses to offer simple answers to incredibly ugly, complex questions. The film neither portrays Bacon's character as a convict-with-a-heart-gold nor a predator without conscience.

The revelatory scene between Walter and adolescent birdwatcher Robin in the park, when we see him truly grasp the impact of his sins, will probably remain one of my all-time favorite film scenes.

compassion is a gift by bakedpotato January 2, 2006 - 12:13 PM PST
0 out of 2 members found this review helpful
the truth is not always beautiful, but it is the truth and therein lies its beauty.

a tough row to hoe by alexjb November 28, 2005 - 10:50 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
this is a tough subject to tackle, and i think that the film does a pretty good job of walking a very fine line.

we need bacon's character to have some redemption, or else it's just depressing. but if everything comes too easily, then it's dramatically unrealistic.

the result - bacon's character is sympathetic, but not a patsy or a fool. he's got some of the rough edges that you would expect a working-class ex-con to have, but he is motivated and trying to find the way to, as he puts it, "be normal". it was extremely interesting to see how his encounters with the bird-watching girl played out, as well as the end result of his living across from a school, and observing another pedophile preying on young boys. the girlfriend and work sub-plots were somewhat predictable, but really just serve as nudges for the main character's evolution.

mos def as the cop was OK, if not terribly convincing. keep your attention on kevin bacon, working through the inner battle between trying to get healthy and trying to not go back to jail.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.19)
109 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2004
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
I'll Have BACON with that!
My favorite movies staring that crunchy treat I lke to call - La Bacon!

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