Another “feel-bad” movie: ‘The Woodsman’

Scene from  The Woodsman

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fIFa9RcCmI

Some movies not classfied as horror actually are. The Woodsman is one of these . The title apparently stems from the Little Red Riding Hood  tale, where the woodsman saves her from the big, bad wolf, but in this movie, they try to convince you the wolf can sometimes redeem himself and turn into the  good-guy woodsman- … uh yeaaahhhh.. right.

So-called scary movies often aren’t; they don’t have much effect on me. Fear is subjective. There are everyday fears, the unknown, the past, the future, crime, etc., but then there are the more subtle yet just as frightening kinds of fears. Sometimes being disgusted and repulsed is frightening- Watching this movie gives one a sense of unending , creeping dread, which is infinitely worse than the obligatory solo scream of the evil axe murderer.

Unless of course, the axe-murderer is Freddy Krueger  – if one is easily upset or one has personal experience with this, I would not recommend a viewing, as I have never experienced this particular form of abuse- not like portrayed in the movie anyway-but was brought to tears and mild nausea by this film. Bacon is almost too good-too real, and I hope I will not be forevermore creeped out by him in other roles. It’s kind of a hard role to live down, but, at least it’s just acting.

Kevin Bacon stars  as a working-class convicted child molester. It is clear that they are trying to make him a sympathetic character, yet I cannot manage to even catch a whiff . Pathos, perhaps. Revulsion, most definitely. Sympathy? No.

Not even when he beats the tar out of a fellow pervert he has been watching stalk the school kids across from his apartment -sorry, the ‘self-hating-reformed-molester-vigilante’  theme  just doesn’t work for me. Not when his sister won’t have him around her child after he does 12 years in prison. Not when he is outed at work. Not when his ( a former victim it is implied of abuse) probation officer visits him and is alternately cruel/reveals his own damage and pathos.

I especially don’t feel sorry for him as he follows what looks to be 7th graders through a mall, looking up their skirts on the escalator or when he actually starts to feel bad for a young girl he just asked to sit on his lap in a remote park, because as it turns out, she is already being molested by her own father – what a spew-worthy meme to promote , as if it is common that good old dad has beat the park pervert to it-or the unused version of this scene in which he tells the girl to tell her teacher in the deleted extra scenes on the DVD.

There are scenes in this movie that made me cry, but not for him. A  disturbing movie-  the  theme of Bacon’s character redeeming himself, while  battling his own demons of sicko-ness. Kyra Sedgewick plays his tough-chick co-worker with whom he becomes involved. It appears she -a former victim herself, has some kind of co-dependent sympathy/affection for him, the status of her own childhood past is not lost upon the viewer,   ‘she is with him and finds/likes him because she is also screwed up’. Oh yuck. Eww. I suppose they are supposed to be mutually pathetic, but I don’t feel bad for her either. Their chemistry sucks and is awkward but perhaps this is intentional.

There can be no moral to the story as it is built upon a false premise, one that is wrong prob 99.9% of the time, that being : Even molesters can redeem themselves. Molesters are people too, and you probably are working or living next to one, just like the White Serial Killer who is one door down from the molester.  He’s a perv, yeah, but he’s also just a guy, trying to make it, dealing with BS like the rest of us. Uh-huh.  Let’s hear it for John Cougar Kiddiepants, working-class hero, hangin’ out at the mall, following kids. But hey, he has to take out the garbage like the rest of us. That’s great. Dude, you just need to overlook the dudes rollin’ around with kids part. You’re so judgemental. He’s getting better, really. Yep. Uh-huh.

Celebrate perversity!

 We all know the ‘reformed molester’ deal  is so rare that it seems blasphemous to suggest. The other stuff about all the conflicted , angsty characters with their various dysfunctions is all well and good, but it doesn’t take away from the basic lie of the premise, that these guys turn themselves around, grow some kind of a normal conscience organ, and find redemption, forgiveness and yes, even love. Love and redemption, love and forgiveness, all the things that happen in cheesy lifetime movies about adults that like other adults. It just doesn’t go together. That’s like mixing syrup of epicac and pepto-bismol. Do you still not feel good but don’t actually hurl, or do you hurl up the pepto? Either way, you still feel gross.

The director blathering extras on the DVD – I only listened a couple minutes and gave up as it was mostly about tooting their own horn re how ‘edgy’ and what a controversial theme the movie had, and how wonderful everyone was, etc..

 this is the producer/director team, Daniels and Kassell. Feel free to leave a blog comment if you see this POS flick.

Daniels and kassel

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5 Responses to Another “feel-bad” movie: ‘The Woodsman’

  1. Mike says:

    Hmm, produced and directed by a Jewish woman and a gay black guy. What a surprise. They barely even try to hide their agendas, anymore.

  2. silentconsort says:

    Hey Mike- (hey, someone actually visits this place, thanks)

    I am not entirely clear on what their agenda is on this one. I suppose we have to see who actually wrote the screenplay and see if that ties in- I can’t see anything more sinister than the usual ” White man as (fill in the blank pathology) ” movie- This movie will make people feel ill. I couldn’t even believe the guys brother in law from 12 years ago was still hanging out with him like he was his “bro” while his own sister was disgusted by him. Bacon made me want to go check the Megan’s Law internet list.

    They don’t really get too far into the character’s past crimes, but disturbingly, the story tends to minimize it, like say he “only” did X to the girls, not “Y” or , showing him crying about his sister when he said he liked to smell her hair, but that is all he did when they were kids. Like, ok yeah, he’s aperv, but he’s not the worst of the worst pervs (obligatory Aunt Jemima eye roll on that one).

    Preying on the weak is innately cowardly and slimy, period, no matter how one tries to spin it, or weasel out of it.
    Parents and shrinks were portrayed as sort of unsympathetic, unforgiving, one dimensional people. the guys boss and receptionist at the lumberyard he worked at portayed as normal, “give the man his privacy, who put this flyer up?” or (the woman) “they have a right to know” ( both of them portraying the well-meaning liberal and conservative views and both top people being black, at a northern lumberyard, Okaayyyy) – pretty much everyone else (White) was straight out of a John Cougar Mellencamp song.

  3. Mike says:

    I suspect that the media bosses want us to become jaded and inured to perversion. They shock us so much that nothing is shocking any more. It takes passion to rebel, and numb people aren’t passionate.

    Thanks for the movie review- I’ll definitely avoid it. More and more I find myself avoiding dramas, anyway. What’s the point of watching something that you know is going to make you feel bad? Even in an otherwise good film I feel manipulated when they tug on the heartstrings. Life is too short to seek sorrow, I think.

  4. silentconsort says:

    Watching “feel-bad” movies is about making the point who is making them, and why, what messages they are trying to send (if you feel lousy anyway for whatever reason, at least it provides a measure of escapism) and because it is a relatively new “genre” in film- you don’t see quite this level of extreme, consistent dysfunction in older movies .

    I like Bacon’s acting in other movies, he’s underrated, not pretty enough for a leading role, not ugly and rough enough to be Wilhelm Dafoe (though there were shades of Dafoe in this flick, only because Bacon looked so bad in this) . I knew the content from reading the package blurb, but didn’t think they would take it as far as they did. The idea that the viewer is supposed to pity the molester is disturbing, and the minimizing, and concentrating on trying to make the character a halfway ‘good guy’ (for a molester, that is) bothers me. These are messages to pay attention to, insofar as looking at what is being put out there, the why is another question-
    The screenplay was written by Kassell and Steven Fechter http://www.answers.com/topic/the-woodsman?cat=entertainment

    It’s been a long time since I have even rented movies, let alone watched TV.

  5. silentconsort says:

    ha , someone mails me , tells me Bacon is married to Sedgwick in real life. So…. why the stilted sh*tty on-screen chemistry ?(almost brother-sister-ish , not very passionate and/or romantic, even with all the special camera shots and music, the movie people obviously tried for that) Ewww.
    Makes you kind of wonder if the only person willing to play the girlfriend to his unsavory role was his real-life wife. Prob not roles (for both Bacon and Sedgwick) that A-list actors/actresses were falling over themselves to get.

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