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The Woodsman

Film Five Stars

There are three things that make this film so great, the first is Kevin Bacon's stunning performance, the second is Kyra Sedgewick's great acting, and the third is the superb script. All these elements combined together give a striking story that is emotional, personal and drives you to the edge of your seat for the entirety of the film.

Bacon's performance is one of his career bests as he plays a convicted pedeophile released from prison having completed his sentence. Now he's in the world again he has a job, a small place, and is stuggling to get his sister to accept him while battle the continually screaming inner demons.

TheWoodsman.jpgAt the heart of this is the story that takes such a contentious issue and tackles it head on, but not from the commonly accepted angle. The film looks at the story through the point of view of the convicted paedophile, and explores his feelings and his beliefs, and it says something very strong to us all. Paedophiles can reform, and paedophilia is not as easy as an evil done by evil men.

It's an issue I have long thought and talked about and one that I've never really seen tackled until now. Then, for the first time for such a topic to be addressed onscreen, its made stunningly well, almost perfectly so.

After this superb story is the performance from Bacon, once again he proves he's streets ahead of his competition, and that he's one of the best character actors in Hollywood, if not the best.

He conveys a character that is very guarded, reserved and extremely tortured, and above all a character that feels real. I believe that this film hinges on the actor and performance of that character, for if the audience don't warm or connect to him in some minute way, or they don't feel even an ounce of sympathy, then the whole film falls apart. Bacon hit's the performance spot on and had me enough to believe the character despite any repulsion or imposed beliefs from the outside world.

I think for the first time I've seen Sedgewick in a strong dramatic role. The other two performances I've seen her in are Singles and Phenomenon. Both films I really love and both with good performances, but she's a romantic play off in both, not a dramatic lead actress. In Woodsman she showed me that she's a hell of a lot more than I've seen to date.

There are some great scenes between the two of them, and in particular Bacon. There's a tension built with his character throughout the film. It has you so tense that you are on edge from just the barest of moments, and during crucial scenes it's almost unbearable, as well as extremely uncomfortable to watch.

This happens right up until the final scene where the whole film quietens down and narrows its focus on exactly what you don't want to see. Brave filmmaking indeed and it's carried out here to perfection.

Your sympathies do end up lying in surprising places, and the film offers no apologies. It covers some tough ground, turning the tables on your preconceptions and doesn't pull any punches or gloss over anything.

Excellent and extremely thoughtful, superb script writing and excellent acting. A film and a performance that you have to see.

UK IMDB Film Details



I am not so sure about the subject matter though, I feel really strongly about it.


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