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The Woodsman (2004)

R | | Drama | 2005 (Peru)
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2:11 | Trailer
A child molester returns to his hometown after 12 years in prison and attempts to start a new life.

Director:

Nicole Kassell

Writers:

Steven Fechter (play), Nicole Kassell (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Bacon ... Walter
David Alan Grier ... Bob
Eve ... Mary-Kay
Kyra Sedgwick ... Vicki
Benjamin Bratt ... Carlos
Carlos Leon ... Pedro
Michael Shannon ... Rosen
Kevin Rice ... Candy
Yasiin Bey ... Sgt. Lucas (as Mos Def)
Hannah Pilkes ... Robin
Jessica Nagle Jessica Nagle ... Annette
Liam Daniels Liam Daniels ... Boy at Playground
Joey Hazinsky Joey Hazinsky ... Cherub
Clara Hopkins Daniels Clara Hopkins Daniels ... Little Girl on Bus (as Clara Infinity Daniels)
Ashley C. Coombs Ashley C. Coombs ... Girl on Bus
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Storyline

After twelve years in prison, Walter arrives in an unnamed city, moves into a small apartment across the street from an elementary school, gets a job at a lumberyard, and mostly keeps to himself. A quiet, guarded man, Walter finds unexpected solace from Vickie, a tough-talking woman who promises not to judge him for his history. But Walter cannot escape his past. A convicted sex offender, Walter is warily eyed by his brother-in-law, shunned by his sister, lives in fear of being discovered at work, and is hounded by a suspicious local police officer, Detective Lucas. After befriending a young girl in a neighborhood park, Walter must also grapple with the terrible prospect of his own reawakened demons. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing can undo the past. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, disturbing behavior and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2005 (Peru) See more »

Also Known As:

Un crimen inconfesable See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$53,985, 26 December 2004

Gross USA:

$1,576,231

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,678,405
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was released in the U.S. just nine days after California put its sex offender register online. Under "Megan's Law," named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was abducted and killed by a sex offender who lived next door, parents must be able to check whether any convicted sex offenders live in their neighborhood. See more »

Goofs

The first time Sgt. Lucas enters the room, he notices the cherry table that Carlos brought back. The plant is already there, even though Vicki doesn't bring it to Walter until later. See more »

Quotes

Vickie: So, are you gonna tell me your dark secret?
Walter: Why do you wanna know?
Vickie: Don't you think I should know before we have sex?
Walter: [looks at her]
Vickie: I don't like to waste time.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Worst First Date Movies (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Got to Praise His Name
Written by Waltier Blocker
Performed by St. Thomas Gospel Choir
Courtesy of St. Thomas Gospel Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sympathy For The Devil: Bacon's best performance to date
27 December 2004 | by george.schmidtSee all my reviews

THE WOODSMAN (2004) ***1/2 Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, David Alan Grier, Eve, Benjamin Bratt, Mos Def, Hannah Pilkes.

Sympathy For The Devil: Bacon's best performance to date

Kevin Bacon has always been one of my favorite actors and constantly proves to be such a truly exceptional one at that. In his latest as a recently paroled convicted pedophile he gives the performance of his career that should entitle him to his first Academy Award nomination (long overdue).

Walter (Bacon) is an ex-con attempting to begin a normal life after being incarcerated for molesting several young girls. What seems to be a large task at hand only proves to be increasingly difficult for a variety of reasons including the fact his apartment is just out of reach of the mandated length he cannot be within the distance of a school which rests – tauntingly like a diabetic a candy factory – directly across the street where he now lives. This is a test he rationalizes and reports this discovery and others to his appointed therapy sessions with a psychiatrist which only makes Walter increasingly uncomfortable as the good doctor suggests he keep a journal and reflect on what he has done (or worse what he may do).

Getting a job as a factory worker in his run-down Philly suburb Walter keeps to himself especially from the slyly sexy Mary-Kay (rapper Eve) who has other plans for the newcomer and instead is befriended by the tomboyish yet open-minded Vickie (Bacon's real-life wife Sedgwick also giving a career high performance with just the right amount of fronting toughness and vulnerable empathy when she beds and eventually discovers Walter's burning secrets.

All of the proceedings lead to a keg of explosive ramifications as Walter tries desperately to walk the straight and narrow but it isn't helping matters as the deck is stacked against him in the form of police Sgt. Lucas (rap star Mos Def in the Walter Matthau role) dogging Walter as a likely suspect in rash of recent child molestings. Sooner or later Walter is going to return to his old form. Or so it seems.

Bacon is truly amazing in his implosive turn as a man so at odds with being in his own skin it threatens to suffocate him in his vein gestures at becoming 'normal' and his body language suggests a crumbling man of sand about to blow away in the winds of society. His pained, grimace of accepting his sickness only curdles his well intended desire to shirk his monstrous past but will not embrace the touchy-feely psycho-babble that he must endure to delve into his childhood as perhaps the key to his perversities.

Smartly directed by newcomer Nicole Kassel – who co-scripted the usually on-target screenplay with Steven Fechter (they bungle it when Walter's play-by-play inner monologue of a perceived local molester makes a mark outside his window is a tad uneasy) – wisely allows her character just enough rope to hang himself before reeling himself back to square one. There is a nice interplay of just the right amount of nervous tension between Bacon's Walter and a little girl named Robin (perfectly played by Pilkes) he espies one day and follows into a local park .

Bacon is a journeyman character actor trapped in a leading man's body but has what so few of his contemporaries do : moxy, talent and the chops to tackle a taboo subject without being exploitative. That is the true skill of a marksman and that is truly what Bacon is.


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