Reviewed byMr_EctoplasmaVote: 7/10
"Woodshock" follows a young woman in Northern California who is devastated by the recent loss of her mother. Her grief becomes compounded by a successive tragedy, after which she begins indulging in a powerful cannabinoid that alters her mental state to dangerous proportions.
Contrary to what the current IMDb rating may indicate (4.5, for the record), I found "Woodshock" to be undeniably beautiful and not deserving of the critical hits it's taken. It's emotionally-driven to the point of being almost anti-cerebral, but the good fortune of having someone like Kirsten Dunst playing the lead character makes the endeavor appear seamless. She is fantastic in the role, conveying inordinate amounts with so few faculties. Her emotional work is felt more than it's seen, which I suppose is true for the bulk of the film?in any case, Dunst is incredibly naturalistic here, as is the rest of the supporting cast. They each feel like people I could have known in the rural town I was raised in.
This is not a movie where much "happens," so-to-speak; I wouldn't call it an experimental film by any means, but it is certainly an art film that revels in experience rather than explanation?there is a narrative, but it is not narrative-driven, instead more concerned with impressions and sensibilities. There is gorgeous cinematography throughout with overlays and crossfades that seem to be invoking Tarkovsky, and montages that recall Terrence Malick.
The writer-director team (sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy, founders of the fashion label Rodarte), said they were greatly influenced by the Redwoods of Northern California where they grew up, which were incorporated into the film. I will say that the trees themselves do not take up as much visual or narrative space as I had expected they would, but there is an ominous, majestic, yet haunting representation of them. I was raised in the Pacific Northwest, so the landscapes, towns, and even the characters feel very familiar to me. Each of the characters, from the sparsely-drawn to the most significant, register as "real" people, which helps ground the film's darker and more tragic turns.
In the end, I found "Woodshock" to be a legitimately well-made film that's been slagged off by anti- intellectuals, which is ironic given that it's not an intellectual movie per se. It's an emotional journey if anything, set in an extraordinary place, among ordinary people, in unusual circumstances. Dunst's performance alone is haunting (or haunted), and reason enough to view the film?I found it even more interesting than her more muted (but equally great) performance in "Melancholia." This is certainly a love-it-or-hate-it-type film, but as a dark, impressionistic endeavor, "Woodshock" succeeds largely with the help of realistic characters and realistic performances. 9/10.
Reviewed byrockman182Vote: 5/10
I thought this looked like Melancholia from the trailer so I was immediately intrigued. I love Kirsten Dunst, I find her very attractive and think she's quite underrated (please see Melancholia and Fargo Season 2 before disagreeing). I generally love independent films that focus on visuals and the aesthetic component of film so I thought I would be in for a treat with Woodshock. Unfortunately though, there is very little to write home about here.
The film is about Theresa, who recently experienced a tragic loss in her life. She is quite clearly emotionally sunken from the loss and takes a mind and reality altering drug that takes effect on her life. I wish I could say more about the film but its really hard to grasp or explain what else was going on. This isn't even a confusion in a good way. The film has nothing logical going on and doesn't even feel real. It tries to mimic profound films of a minimalist nature but fails to capture any interest or compassion for the work.
The filming style is worth viewing. Kate and Laura Mulleavy certainly have an eye for cinematic style. The use of superimposition was a huge favorite for this one. Neon lights, hazy atmosphere, and a powerful score also make the technical aspects of the film to look and feel top notch. The film does feel in tune with its drug fueled high atmosphere. That's really it. I think Kirsten Dunst is really good in this. She has really mastered the role of a depressed, grief encompassed woman. She's not at fault for the films shortcomings.
While I think Kate and Laura Mulleavy impressed with their style, their writing needs more work. Its hard to care and really follow what's going on. I am a patient person for films like this but they have to have a real impact with its minimal story. This film unfortunately does not do that and was a frustrating experience. Definitely not worth the time and effort.
Reviewed byPaul AllaerVote: 3/10/10
"Woodshock" (2017 release; 100 min.) brings the story of Theresa. Asthe movie opens, we see Theresa taking care of a woman we later learnis her mother. Theresa, upon her mother's request, gives her a spikedjoint to smoke. Later, when we see the room empty, we understandTheresa is grieving for the passing of her mom. Meanwhile, we get toknow Nick, Theresa's boyfriend, and Keith, Theresa's colleague at themedical marijuana dispense store. At this point, we are 10-15 min. intothe movie, but to tell you more of the plot (as it is) would spoil yourviewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it allplays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is co-written and co-directed by thesisters Kate Mulleavy and Laura Mulleavy, who are respected fashiondesigners without any prior film-making/directing/writing experience. Iadmit that I knew very little about the movie going in, other than itstarred Kirsten Dunst in an indie movie about someone grieving. Thatsounded it might be in the realm of "Melancholia", so sign me up! Fromthe opening moments of "Woodshock", it all feels quite "artsy" and youare left on your own to figure out what is going on. I have absolutelyno problem with that, and figure that if the movie is good, this willsort itself out at some point. Here we are left wondering, andwondering, and wondering Things play out on the big screen and at onepoint you hope to be emotionally involved and invested. I couldn't havecared less about any of these characters, whose random scenes left meutterly unmoved, if not bewildered. There are a couple of plus points,including the at times gorgeous scenery (when Dunst goes walking amongthe sequoia trees, etc.), and of course Dunst herself. She tries herbest, although looking equally lost as we are, and in vain looking forclues (at one point literally, as she searches her house top to bottomfor what exactly?).
"Woodshock" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here inCincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday matinée screeningwhere I saw this at was attended poorly (just a handful of people).About 30 min. into the movie, I mumbled to myself "what's going onhere?", and the guy seated a few rows before me turned around and said"you and me both!". This will give you an idea as to the state ofaffairs in "Woodshock". I honestly cannot recommend this movie in goodconscience to anyone, but of course encourage you to check it out inthe theater (although I cannot imagine it will play more than a week ortwo, tops), on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, anddraw your own conclusion.
A haunted young woman spirals in the wake of profound loss, torn between her fractured emotional state and the reality-altering effects of a potent cannabinoid drug.