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Movie Review: The Woodsman

Alternate Title: : Innocence Lost

Story: My 'Best' of 2004 film list keeps growing. This powerful, brave new film by first time director and co-writer Nicole Kassell based on the play by Steven Fechter is a must see for anyone that can tolerate the subject of pedophilia.

The topic itself is enough to keep most Americans out of the theater but I challenge you to keep your prejudices home and see what good storytelling and sensational acting is like in a film.

Walter, after spending 12 years in prison for molesting young girls is trying to pull his life together. The portrait that is painted of this tortured soul, the controversial subject itself and the lives it touches is numbing and thought provoking.

I won't reveal much of the story but will tell you that it is the first time I have seen this topic dealt with in a mature even manner.

The technical aspects of the film also work to its high rating. It seems as if it is filmed in black and white allowing the viewer to concentrate on the characters.

This film is about redemption (one of my favorite themes), family, love and pain.

Be brave and go see it.

Acting: Kevin Bacon gives the performance of a lifetime. He is simply brilliant. Real wife Kyra Sedgwick is perfect as the hard edged woman who is willing to love this guy. Fine supporting ensemble cast includes Benjamin Bratt, Mos Def and Eve.

Predilection: None (although I do like controversial topics).

Critters: Birds

Food: Many brown bag items including chicken salad.

Titles: Opening sequence brings you up to date about Walter's incarceration and release.

Theater Audience: It was a packed 5PM showing. The audience did not move at the end of the film.

Sappy Factor: Are you kidding?

Drift Range: Not for a second.

Squirm Scale: The topic is squirmy and at times I was uncomfortable.

Predictability Level: I wasn't sure how this would turn out.

Oscar Worthy: Absolutely. Kevin Bacon should get a nomination but I don't know if the Academy is ready to be that brave.

Nit Picking: None.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen if you have the guts. For some other of my favorite Kevin Bacon films try: Mystic River, My Dog Skip, Sleepers, Apollo 13, The River Wild, A Few Good Men, JFK, Flatliners, The Big Picture, Quicksilver, Footloose, Diner and of course, the classic Animal House.

Length: 90 minutes.