Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Road (2009)

Director: John Hillcoat. Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce. 111 min. Rated R. Drama.

I was surprised when I first heard a film was being produced based on Cormac McCarthy's bleak, dark, depressing post-apocalyptic novel. Just never thought it was "filmable". Taking that into account, The Road is a decent adaptation, and is able to conceptualize the most disturbing sections of the story into visual form. There was no participating mother figure in the book; apparently for good reason, as flashbacks of Theron as the mother are complete throwaways (maybe she's there just to lighten up the mood). But if you're not into gloomy movies, even reading this review was a waste of time.

(PS: Here's to you, Alex. Thanks for recommending the book.)

Mo says:


  1. I have to agree with the first sentence of your review. It was WAY TOO bleak, dark, and depressing for me. I don't care if it was a decent adaptation or not. It was just not a proper book to adapt. I'm finding myself more and more trying to stay away from these types of movies no matter how much praise they get. I watched it 'cause I like Viggo Mortensen. I shouldn't have!

  2. Roger Ebert has an opinion about looking at movies (which I repeatedly find myself quoting from) along the lines of: "A movie is not what it's about, but how it is about it."

    (The great thing about this viewpoint, is that it eliminates any "lesson" some people expect from movies. "300" is a good example.)

    "The Road" is supposed to be about a depressing subject, and to offer McCarthy's vision. To that end, I believe it delivers. That's why I think it gets a high score.

  3. Good prescription for depressed audience!

    Beyond showing an overwhelmingly dismal post-apocalyptic backdrop (perhaps Holocaust?) May be the movie reminds us to admit :This the future of humankind ,! living in world of desperate, darkness with sad and gloomy feeling, …having no name , no identity , no clear past, no bright future , wandering from nowhere to no destiny just with nostalgic memories and great and tragic struggle for being alive along with call of a conscience (the boy) constantly commands him what to do and what is right.

  4. Very interesting interpretation. In other words, you're saying "The Road" is about the present, not the future. Correct?

    Sounds right.

  5. Don’t be wrong. Holocaust theory is not from me !
    But , Indeed , ،Through the movie I never felt it belongs to future.I thought mostly, it belongs to the present or maybe the past! Then I was looking for the key point might lead me to initial disaster responsible for those post-apocalyptic events and this reason is totally unknown in the movie.I read one critic named Holocaust as a probable disaster in his note and to me seems correct , because you may notice than the boy already was worried about another boy who disappeared behind the wall and quarreled with his father because of him…or in the last scene he asked that family : have you any son ? I thought maybe all of these are signs of that tragic event where at first boys were chosen for death before girls.

  6. What you mention is possible, although it never came to my mind. Through the entire book there's never any mention of what caused the disaster (even the old blind man says: "I knew this day would come ...", but he never says what he saw to predict this day). I think the cause was left out intentionally, because it really doesn't matter - the movie is a situation analysis. Even the scene in the movie where Mortensen sees a bright light outside his home (in the beginning) is not in the book.