Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

The Woodsman 2004

Directed by Nicole Kassell

The Woodsman, a serious and thoughtful drama on a hideously difficult subject, deserves the warmest praise and the widest possible audience.” — Anthony Quinn, The Independent

USA In English
87 minutes 35mm



Nicole Kassell, Steven Fechter. Based on the play by Steven Fechter


Xavier Pérez Grobet


Brian A. Kates
Lisa Fruchtman


Nathan Larson


Kevin Bacon
Kyra Sedgwick
Mos Def
David Alan Grier
Benjamin Bratt


Sundance, Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Toronto, Vancouver, London 2004


In this intense psychological thriller, actor Kevin Bacon performs a startling feat of imaginative identification playing Walter, a heterosexual paedophile re-entering society after twelve years in prison. Fearful that he’ll be exposed and punished anew in his new community, he’s just as terrified that he’ll be tempted again to abuse the innocent trust of a child. The intervention of Vickie, a strong-willed woman (Bacon’s real-life partner Kyra Sedgwick), weary of male aggression and drawn to his evasiveness, holds the promise of the normality he craves. First-time director Nicole Kassell has the measure of the risks she’s taking, and she binds us into knots of dread for Vickie, for Walter and for any little girl who pays him a moment’s attention.

“Kevin Bacon digs so deep into the sexual compulsion and self-loathing at war in his pedophile character that what he achieves goes beyond acting… Bacon doesn’t beg or receive sympathy for Walter… He makes a far tougher request: that we see Walter as human…. This underrated actor… has found the role of his career. He makes The Woodsman impossible to shake.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone 

“Bacon and co have produced an intelligent and relevant social drama which should, I suggest, be forcibly screened to the editorial team of the News of the World before they embark on their next self-serving ‘paedo-horror’ exposé.” — David Calhoun, Time Out