The Indies: The Woodsman

The Woodsman (Nicole Kassell, 2004)

With Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Eve, Mos Def and Benjamin Bratt.

When I wrote my short review of Murder in the First last week, I said that it was the best I had ever seen from Kevin Bacon.  I might have to amend that statement after seeing The Woodsman.  Bacon is brilliant as a disgraced pedophile who is trying to regain some semblance of a normal life after spending 12 years in prison.  He has the unenviable task of portraying someone who continually struggles to be good, but he simply can’t help himself at times.  Scarred from his own wrongdoing, and his past mistakes are constantly grating on his psyche.  So often we see real-life couples struggle to recapture their off-screen chemistry when acting beside one another on-screen, but Bacon and Sedgwick work very well together here.

The movie was produced by Lee Daniels, who is the man responsible for bringing us the current the Oscar contender, Precious.  The two films really aren’t all that different in either subject matter or tone.  As dark and affecting as both films are, we still feel some sort of inspiration or fulfillment from the end result.  The jarring score sets the tone for the film from the opening credits, and the only misstep is a scene in which Bacon serves as an onlooker and narrates a possible pedophilic interaction as if it were a sporting event.  It just didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the movie, and stuck out like a sore thumb.

Rating: 8/10

RIYL: Precious, The Wrestler, dark character studies.

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