directed by Nicole Kassell
USA 2004

 

Based upon the play by Steven Fechter, “The Woodsman” tells the story of Walter (Kevin Bacon), a pedophile, who fresh out of prison, attempts to adjust to both society and to repress his urges. However, society doesn’t want him around. His sister won’t hear of him, he is constantly hassled by the police and harassed at work.

Where society talks about giving cons a break, to allow them back into society after time served, this is not the case when it comes to pedophiles. They are forever stigmatized, forever a danger, and should be locked away for good. “The Woodsman” never attempts to justify Walter, but asks us to sympathize with him, being open and honest about his situation, and also questioning when one has done enough time for a crime. At the same time it shows the hierocracy of good Christian citizens, who with one hand offer forgiveness, but with the other condemn.

It requires a very strong and believable performance, to allow the viewer to sympathize, and Kevin Bacon delivers. This is the best performance of his career. It is simply uncanny to watch how Bacon is able with nothing more than a look to convey his inner demons to the audience.

But it also requires a good director. Someone who understands Walter. And first time director Nicole Kassell, fresh out of NYU film school, has done her homework. She was deeply involved in preparing the screenplay with writer Fechter, and she interviewed both therapists and pedophiles. At no time does the film fall short. Constantly it goes the distance, never taking a short cut, and at the same time, Kassell never dramatizes. Even important significant scenes are underplayed, relations only hinted, as when Walters cousin Carlos (Benjamin Bratt) returns the wedding present only saying, “I love my wife.”

“The Woodsman” is a very brave and very intelligent film. It dares to ask us to understand someone whose crimes disgusts us, to judge ourselves and to forgive. Acted to perfection, this is one of the best films of the year.
 

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 19, 2004 (Sundance Film Festival)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Tartan - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Distribution

Tartan

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:23:33 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.71 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital English, 5.1 Dolby Digital English, DTS English
Subtitles No subtitles
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Nicole Kassell
• Getting it made (5:02 / 4:3)
• Deleted and extended scenes (8:07 / 4:3)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:11 / 4:3)
• Interviews:
• - Nicole Kassell (18:04 / 16x9)
• - Damon Dash (3:04 / 16x9)
• - Kevin Bacon (15:40 / 16x9)
• - Kyra Sedgwick (14:52 / 16x9)

DVD Release Date: July 4, 2005
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Chapters 17
 

 

 

 

 

Comments The image has been opened from its theatrical AR of 1.85:1 to 1.78:1. As such, where the R1 edition is in correct OAR of 1.85:1, Tartans R2 frame has more image.

And what an image it is. True to the "dull" theatrical color palette, there are no compression artifacts visible. It simply looks amazing.

Sound comes in the three usual formats, 2.0 Dolby Digital, 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS. This being a dialogue based film, the DTS is a bit superfluous, as it really adds nothing to the already great 5.1 Dolby Digital track. What is important is that dialogue is clear.

Some of the additional material is identical to the R1 edition. A very solid audio commentary by director Nicole Kassell, a very brief 5 minute interview with producer Lee Daniels, and one deleted and two extended scenes. These are darlings and seeing them next to the film, really allows the viewer to see how a scene is tightened.

Tartan has added some exclusive interviews on their DVD. The gems here are the interviews with Bacon and Sedgwick, especially with Bacon. This is his film, and to listen to him talk about how he approached the character simply adds both admiration for him as an actor and the film itself.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 





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Region 2 - PAL


 




 

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