Woodpeckers (Carpinteros)

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Reviews Counted: 13

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Average Rating: 4.3/5

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Movie Info

Love can spring up in the most unlikely places, and the new film Woodpeckers (Carpinteros) tells one such tale of illicit and slow-boil attraction. Dreadlocked and handsome Dominican-Haitian Julián (actor Jean Jean in a breakout role) begins a jail sentence for petty theft inside the notorious Najayo prison just outside Santo Domingo. While navigating the indignities, corruption and everyday violence from both guards and fellow inmates, he becomes immersed in the system of "Woodpecking," the unique sign language the male prisoners use to communicate with women in the adjacent penitentiary just over 400 feet away. Standing in windows or out in prison yards, love - and heated liaisons - blossom. Julián's entanglement with one female inmate, Yanelly (the astonishing Dominican actress Judith Rodriguez Perez), is the fuse that ignites the events of Woodpeckers, which was shot on location at the actual prison using real inmates for all but the lead roles. Director José María Cabral, whose previous work was the Dominican Republic's official submission for the Foreign Language Oscar, delivers a knockout film, full of atmosphere, sexuality, and grit.

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Critic Reviews for Woodpeckers (Carpinteros)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (6)

  • [Woodpeckers] is an emotional hothouse.

    Oct 26, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Cabral's depiction of prison society feels measured and just: there is no pretending that it isn't awful, but nor is there a denial of basic human feeling.

    Sep 22, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • José María Cabral's arresting drama "Woodpeckers (Carpinteros)" could be called love in a pressure cooker, but that would be understating its vivid textures and palpable vitality.

    Sep 14, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Moments are rousing - especially as Manaury starts to suspect their affair - but we're not given quite enough (particularly from the aloof Julián) for a memorable romance.

    Sep 13, 2017 | Full Review…
  • While "Carpinteros" is strong enough in atmosphere and assembly, it's limited by characters who aren't developed with great complexity, and a climax that pours on a little too much credulity-stretching hyperbole.

    Jan 31, 2017 | Full Review…

    Dennis Harvey

    Top Critic
  • Raw, intriguing and and energetic despite its flaws ...

    Jan 24, 2017 | Full Review…

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