21st Jan2015

‘Woodfalls’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Matthew Ferdenzi, Michelle Crane, Gareth Bennett-Ryan, Tyron Maynard, Maggie Daniels, Joseph Law, Rachel Marwood, Virginia Byron, Andrew McDonald, Marlene Abuah, Rob Timbrell, David Luke, Anthony Abuah | Written and Directed by David Campion

Woodfalls-poster

Woodfalls focusses on a family of Irish travellers who have recently moved into a rural town. Quickly they find themselves in conflict with the locals, being stigmatised as ‘gypsies’. As the family try to fit in, they find themselves making friends and enemies in the town they currently call their home. As they decide whether they should stay or leave, tensions build to such a high that could lead to disaster for the family and those around them.

Dealing with issues such as drug abuse and the lives of travellers as they try to fit into communities, Woodfalls follows one story line from three different perspectives, Two of these perspectives are siblings in the traveller family and a third is the ring leader of the ‘opposition’ to the family. This film is doesn’t hold back, kicking off (pun slightly intended) with a clash between Billy from the traveller family and Damon and his friends in a pub fight. Billy is targeted just because of how he lives his life and that pretty much sets the scene for the rest of the film. Woodfalls sets out to shock, challenge and make you think as the story plays out in front of you.

Fair enough I say. Make a film which raises issues and challenges perspectives. I am all for that. For the majority, Woodfalls does a very good job to shock and raise eyebrows. However, there are moments in which Woodfalls does less well, including a painfully awkward, tear filled sex scene between two characters who I hope to God aren’t related but it isn’t really clarified. At times, particularly towards the start of the film, a few scenes are filled with cringe worthy acting and camera wobble induced headaches. This definitely improves quickly and is not really an issue at all towards the end but some of the impact of the earlier scenes are ruined as they feel flat and uncomfortable. There is also a whole storyline about Damon’s Father which seems to be forgotten about, even after a rather grisly scene, which really leaves you wanting more but it never fully explored.

I have poked a few holes in Woodfalls to be sure but as a story, it does very well. I never once felt lost or confused as to what was going on and the film is powerful and unexpectedly shocking at points. For an indie film with quite a small budget, it never feels like an indie film with a small budget and if you are looking for an interesting watch, this might be one worth considering.

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