I saw the entire film as a metaphor for Little Red Riding Hood, and rarely before have I seen such a magnificent metaphor. The red ball that we see in numerous flashbacks of Bacon symbolizes the girl throwing it to him as Riding Hood and he is the wolf. He gives in to his urges, and now out of prison, must fight his inner wolf. Unfortunately, through numerous events he loses this fight and gives in to temptation, making an attempt to seduce a girl. This time the Riding Hood element is more blatantly displayed, since the three times we see her she is either wearing a red hoodie or has it with her. As Bacon, now giving in to the wolf, tries to seduce her she reveals that her father has molested her. Now Bacon sees what kind of effect being a wolf actually has on the many Riding Hoods in his past, and this marks his arch in the film. With the help of the girl, he conquers the wolf and becomes the woodsman. As he's walking home we see another pedophile, who has been brilliantly chronicled throughout the film with many voyeurish scenes, unleashing a boy from his car. Bacon now sees this man as the wolf and, since he is the woodsman, has to protect the new riding hood(s) by beating this wolf senseless, which he does.
This marks his complete transition from wolf to woodsman in one of the most brilliant stories I have ever seen. Bacon delivers one of the most brilliant performances of all time. He displays such an inner pain that I've never been more attached to a character. When he starts talking to Riding Hood and begins to seduce her, I cried in fear of him giving in to his wolf desires and becoming the monster that he worked so hard to overcome. The scenes with the girl are the most emotionally devastating I've ever had to endure. The best part of his performance is that he completely wrecks the audience, without ever having to shout or break into over the top tears. He is subtle and completely absorbed in this character. Sedgwick was also magnificent, and I really wish she hadn't faded into the background during the middle of the film.