The Woodsman

2004 [english]

Action / Drama

The Woodsman

2004 [english]

Action / Drama

88%
77%
7.2

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88% - Critics
77% - Audience
7.2

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Synopsis

After twelve years in prison, Walter arrives in an unnamed city, moves into a small apartment across the street from an elementary school, gets a job at a lumberyard, and mostly keeps to himself. A quiet, guarded man, Walter finds unexpected solace from Vickie, a tough-talking woman who promises not to judge him for his history. But Walter cannot escape his past. A convicted sex offender, Walter is warily eyed by his brother-in-law, shunned by his sister, lives in fear of being discovered at work, and is hounded by a suspicious local police officer, Detective Lucas. After befriending a young girl in a neighborhood park, Walter must also grapple with the terrible prospect of his own reawakened demons. —Sujit R. Varma.

Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Aug 15, 2021 at 07:59 PM

Director

Cast

  • Eve as Mary-Kay

grade Movie Reviews

  • Reviewed by omouallem grade 8 / 10

    Ignore the low rating

    I saw this movie at the Vancouver Film Festival. Not only was it one of the best movies I saw at the fest, but one of the best of the year. I truly believed it to be Bacon's career performance.The script is solid, full of great dialogue and thick symbolism. The characters all fully developed and never one-sided. Each has their dark side. A commendable effort to Emmy winner, Mos Def, who makes us hate him when he's a good cop, and love him when he's a bad one.The reason the rating is so low is because it's hard to accept a character that is a child molester. Probably because everyone knows someone or is someone who has been sexually abused. This is a film about redemption and forgiveness--something we can all definitely agree with. It is also a story about humanity--something we all have in common.


  • Reviewed by anhedonia grade 9 / 10

    Disturbing, unsettling, but brilliant and spellbinding

    The last film that unsettled me much like "The Woodsman" did was Todd Solondz's superb and exceedingly black comedy, "Happiness" (1998), which dealt with similar themes. But unlike Solondz, who never seems to like any of his characters, screenwriters Nicole Kassell and Steven Fechter appear to genuinely care about the people they create.Their story's really very simple: Walter (Kevin Bacon) gets out of prison after serving a dozen years for molesting young girls. He takes a job at a Philadelphia-area lumber mill and tries to get his life back together again, while dealing with his inner demons.What's likely to disturb many about "The Woodsman" is that Kassell and Fechter raise the intriguing question of whether someone who's done something despicable is not only capable of putting his life back together again after serving his time, but also whether society ought to allow him to do so. And to make our job even tougher, Kassell and Fechter don't turn Walter into a monster."The Woodsman" is aided immensely by a strong, compelling performance by Bacon. It's easily his best work, a role that requires him to underplay his character. Director Kassell isn't shy about letting the camera linger on Bacon's face and Bacon credibly brings to life Walter's suffering. It's a sensationally good performance. Bacon gives him depth and feeling and we suddenly find ourselves caring about this reprehensible man.There are some superb supporting performances, including Mos Def as a cop, David Alan Grier as Walter's boss and Benjamin Bratt proving he really can act if he's given a good role. The most interesting supporting character is Vickie, a coworker willing to give Walter a second chance at life. Kyra Sedgwick, a gifted, yet under-rated, actress, is utterly convincing as Vickie, a woman almost as damaged as Walter is. The Walter-Vickie relationship works because there's terrific chemistry between Bacon and Sedgwick. True, they're husband and wife, but real-life couples can fail miserably on screen. Kidman and Cruise in "Far and Away" (1992), anyone?Bacon and Sedgwick's scenes are tender, passionate and real. Though, there's one intimate moment between Walter and Vickie that's clearly inspired by the famous Donald Sutherland-Julie Christie love scene in Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" (1973).What makes "The Woodsman" such gripping viewing is that the film doesn't shy away from letting us into Walter's struggle. There's a particularly uncomfortable scene on a park bench as Walter comes to terms with his true nature."The Woodsman" is a film that deserves to be seen. It's a pity that less-than-mediocre movies, such as "Connie and Carla" and "Twisted," get widely released, while a gem like "The Woodsman" gets to very few theaters. Seek out this film. It's not an easy film to watch, but the performances are all good, the story's riveting and it's definitely one of the best, most thought-provoking films of the year.


  • Reviewed by sibisi73 grade 8 / 10

    Intelligent and thought-provoking.

    An intelligent and thought-provoking film that never flinches from it's subject matter, and includes a superb performance from it's leading man. Kassell's film manages to steer clear of didacticism and lays the misunderstandings and prejudices about, and ignorance of, paedophilia open for the audience to interpret in their own way. The protagonist is neither a sympathetic hero or a villain, but during the course of the film he wavers between the two leaving the audience both supportive and sickened. This amalgam of conflicting emotions makes 'The Woodsman' essential viewing for a rational, adult audience. I only wonder how an audience would react to a paedophile played by an unknown actor without Bacon's profile, as I suspect many people would find it harder to accept without his charisma or celebrity attached to the film.


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