Woodshock (R)

Drama 100 min. September 22, 2017
By Alan Scherstuhl
Please accept what follows as a considered statement, not as film-review hype: Kate Mulleavy and Laura Mulleavy's Woodshock is the rare drug movie that, as you watch it, stirs the sensations of actually having taken drugs. I'm not insisting that this moody art-house Kirsten Dunst picture is "Melancholia on acid!" or calling it a trip or anything. Let's be precise. It's a potent evocation of pot, of your mind in a stoned stupor, of your eyes glazing over as the light around you becomes entrancing. Not much happens in most of its scenes, but there's much for the patient or the high to get caught up in.

It follows The Virgin Suicides and The Beguiled as the third entry in a sort-of trilogy celebrating Dunstian lassitude, though here the actress mostly is alone in the frame rather than caught up in intensely intimate community. In T-shirts and jeans, Dunst's character, Theresa, rolls reefer, licks the paper, blazes up and then wanders the ranch house where her sick mother has recently died, with Theresa's help, in something of an assisted matricide situation. In opening moments, the mother lays in bed in a daze and Theresa passes her a joint laced with some unidentified poison. Whether the mother understands what she's been offered is for you to work out.

The rest of the film finds Theresa slumping her way through guilt and loss. Woodshock is a study in a mind's stoned studying, in its slipping in and out of a haze, rather than one of a mind's unraveling or snapping. It's just as interesting as that sounds -- you'll either embrace it or find it agony.
Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy Kirsten Dunst, Joe Cole, Pilou Asbæk, Steph DuVall Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy A24

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