Reviewed by Glenda Solomon
With the name, ‘Woodsrider” one would expect a lot from this movie adventure, danger, and mystery along with the filmmaker’s promise for the audience to experience Sadie’s solitary existence. But sadly none of what you expect from this movie ever happens.
The movie is based on 19-year-old Sadie Ford as she and her dog camp out in the snow-topped mountains of Oregon. Though the premise of the film sounds good, we don’t really get to know who Sadie is and what propels her to choose her path to be alone. But of course, she is not alone because the camera follows her jaunts into town to socialize with friends before she heads back to her mountain campsite, actions typical of a 19 year doing her thing.
With a lack of back story, it is difficult to care about Sadie or be concerned about her journey. There are no stakes to the choice she has made and no adversity to overcome, which is ultimately the core of any good character-driven story. Knowing who Sadie is would have helped us understand the underlying need for her to forge a different path. Seeing the family interactions that might have given us a glimpse into her soul and allow us to nurture a relationship with her. And it would have helped if we knew a bit of history about the area she had chosen to find her “inner peace” to be alone.
I understand the filmmaker’s intention to create a visual art film and there are some shots in the film that gives a hint of that potential. But not enough to save the film from its lack of taking chances. If we have to spend 83 minutes of our time then give us something to contemplate as we evaluate our own life choices.
“Woodsrider” was written, directed and edited by Cambria Matlow and produced by Matlow, Janique Robillard, and Richard Beer. Uncork’d Entertainment will release the film digitally on March 12 (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now, Xbox and local Cable Providers). The film has a running time of 83 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.