The Woodsman 2004

Read the script
Link to online script of The Woodsman

The Story

Writer/director Nicole Kassell makes her feature film debut with the drama The Woodsman. Co-written by Steven Fechter, the original script won first place at the Slam­dance Screen­play Compet­i­tion in 2001.

Kevin Bacon plays Walter, a child molester who gets out of prison after serving a 12-year sentence. He returns to his old town and tries to start over by working at a wood­yard. Fortu­nately, his brother-in-law (Benjamin Bratt) helps him get a place to live. He even strikes up a rela­tion­ship with local gal Vickie (Bacon’s real-life wife, Kyra Sedg­wick). However, Walter still struggles with his past and the suspi­cions of co-worker Mary-Kay (Eve) and Detective Lucas (Mos Def). The Woodsman premiered at the Sund­ance Film Fest­ival in 2004 as part of the dramatic competition. ~

Andrea LeVas­seur, Rotten Toma­toes

There aren’t too many films with a paedo­phile as a prot­ag­onist but the best thing about The Woodsman is that it neither demon­ises or excuses its central char­acter who is shown here as a flawed indi­vidual but never­the­less one capable of redeeming himself. In less certain hands this could be a  ‘disease of the month’ tv film but sens­itive writing and strong perform­ances lift it above that.

The Scenes

The clip here features two scenes taken from different parts of the film that show encoun­ters between a police detective, Lucas, (Mos Def) and Walter, the prot­ag­onist.  Walter has been condemned by society for his crime and Lucas plays a self-appointed role of accuser and judge. We. as the audi­ence, however have been given a different perspective on Walter and so can empathise with his frus­tra­tion and sense of injustice.

Both scenes are played with a quiet intensity but the second scene is partic­u­larly effective and contains a ‘purple passage‘ that provides the film with a key image and its title. This scene happens just before the third act crisis and helps to precip­itate it.

David Clough ©2011

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