The road back
If you have no idea what this movie is about, then do not read any further. This movie is best approached without knowing much about it.
Walter (Bacon) is released from prison. He is trying to find his place in society. He takes a job at the lumber mill and finds a new place to live across from a grade school. The problem is that Walter was in prison for molesting children. The story deals with Walter's recovery and new life. Walter meets a woman at the saw mill and they spend time uncovering parts of their past lives. Vickie (Sedgwick) sees something special in Walter. She opens up about her childhood and the sexual relationships with her brothers. Walter isn't really equipped to deal with Vickie's problems. Other workers at the saw mill don't want to give Walter a chance. Maybe they are right. Walter can't seem to avoid the situations where young girls are present. He tries to work with his parole officer / therapist. But his progress is slow.
Walter is visited by a police officer on several occasions. The officer tells him about the story of the woodsman that kills the wolf and opens up the wolves stomach to free the girl. The officer says there are no woodsman anymore, just the police waiting to put Walter back in the prison after they screw up.
There are three turning points for Walter. His relationship with Vickie deepens and seems to become an outlet for many feelings. He trails a young girl to the park, but instead of ending in a criminal act, Walter and Robin come to a better realization of their lives. Walter comes home from the park and accosts a man. In beating this man, he has become the woodsman. (It is worth leaving the details out of this description and watching the film.)
Bacon and Sedgwick put in excellent performances. Both characters have a deep past and difficult present they must deal with. The girl playing Robin also puts in a great performance.
This is the directorial debut of Nicole Kassell. Many of the shots are long and contemplative. The scenes are well framed and there is certainly a consistent palette for the film. Kassell does a good job of leaving most of the scenes alone and letting the actors carry this difficult and uncomfortable work.
Full profile for The Woodsman
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