Woodfalls: Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Woodfalls: Review

By Josh Horwood.

Directed by David Campion, 75mins.

The drama of ‘Woodfalls’ plays out in a small rural town. A family of Irish-Travellers (Billy, Rebecca and their mum) moves in and encounters problems trying to fit in. It’s a theme that couldn’t be timelier, as some political parties are looking for greater control of borders and the consequences of the Dale Farm eviction have been overlooked.

The opening scene, in which a local thug (Damon) spots Billy in the pub and spits in his drink, is fantastic and offers such promise.  How sad to report then that it’s a confused film, unsure of what it wants to explore.  Rather than plunging into the psychology of the characters, writer/director David Campion plods a very well worn story track that falls into melodrama in its third act.

At times, this looks like a student film thrown together for a deadline, at others, it has moments of visual elegance.  There are scenes in a nightclub, in which the camera slides past ankles and legs that are really exciting.  It really is a shame that the film’s direction doesn’t maintain the same vibrancy throughout.  The leads, Gareth Bennett-Ryan as Damon and Matthew Ferdenzi as Billy are perfectly watchable but probably needed meatier character to be really engaging.  Michelle Crane, who plays Rebecca, is very good. One scene, which sees her empty a bucket full of faeces and have a bath in a plastic storage container, is heart-rending but she isn’t given enough screen time for us to really empathise with her.  A special mention must go to Joseph Law who chews the scenery as drug dealer Wozzle; as soon as he appears, the film is lifted by his character’s slimy and annoying presence.

Frustratingly, the camera is hardly ever still, it’s almost exclusively handheld.  The way in which it constantly shakes not only made me feel nauseous but also made me feel like I was watching a Michael Bay film (those feelings do often go hand-in-hand).  The editing is punchy and to the point and the Daytripper soundtrack is very engaging to listen to.  I’d very much like to discuss the film’s ending but I can’t.  Suffice to say, it comes out of nowhere and makes no sense.

So the film is a bit of a disappointment then.  It has some absolutely great moments and a couple of stand out performances but ultimately doesn’t hang together.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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