Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Woodsman

Kevin Bacon
What an affecting performance by Kevin Bacon. I've always been partial to him despite Flashdance and a raft of other nasty films. Many years ago PBS broadcast a series of plays and Kevin Bacon really stood out in a couple of them (Lemon Sky is one that springs to mind). Since then he's made a lot of bad choices. This movie made me cringe but it got my total attention. I can see why it wouldn't do great box office - pedophilia is not a theme that appeals to moviegoers - it could put a severe damper on date night.
Walter is released from prison after serving 12 years for molesting young girls. He struggles to put his life back together, having lost his family and his friends. He lives in a modest, impersonal furnished apartment overlooking a school. He sets up a birdfeeder outside his window but he's not a likeable person. He's abrasive and his interactions with others are mostly surly. His real-life wife, Kyra Sedgewick plays a woman, also damaged, who reaches out to him even after she learns his secret. Walter's response to her is strained, almost tortured. Not surprisingly he is relaxed and loveable with 11 year old Robin who, we fear, might be his next victim. Every performance in this film is almost too real; I wanted to look away but I couldn't. It was a movie that made me think. And it turns out that I was right about Kevin Bacon.

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