The Road (2009)

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Hollywood
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The Road


A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food–and each other.-IMDb


John Hillcoat


Cormac McCarthy (novel), Joe Penhall(screenplay)


Viggo MortensenCharlize Theron and Kodi Smit-McPhee


 Adventure | Drama | Thriller


 In a moment the world changed forever.

If you don’t know, The Road is based on a Pullitzer-prize winning novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. There’s been some kind of apocalypse, causes unknown, and a father and young son try to survive on the road to an hypothetical better place.

The movie is relentlessly grim, dour, somber, depressing and, well, add your favourite dark adjective. However, it’s also quite good and fascinating provided you watch it not expecting spectacular action scenes. There are a few intense action scenes based on survival but they’re quick, unheroic and unglamorous. Actually, it seemed often better to avoid or flee the dangers in this world. The Road didn’t have any of that somewhat cool post-apocalyptic stuffs that other movies of the same genre had. That being said, there are a few tiny glimmers of hope and we come to care about our father and son duo. It’s one of the best father and son relationships shown on film.

Someway, somehow, following the father and son in their normal daily life was pretty interesting. It was also quite interesting to see how the father dealt with each unforeseen problem in often unexpected yet logical fashion. The main threat comes from cannibalism (as the father tells us) and as a viewer I felt that omnipresent danger even though it was represented in sometimes subtle ways. It also made me think as to how most people would react in such extreme conditions. Who would cling to standard humanistic ideals? Deep down, who are we really? Is it even worth surviving in such a hopeless world? The movie is deep, sad, horrifying and bleak, with an oddly optimistic finish. While this film might talk about ‘good guys’ it also says so much about the contemporary world. What do YOU / ME become? A cannibal? Or keep hold of your humanity? Let us hope it is the latter.

Still of Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Road

The “lighter” moments of the movie in which the man dreams of his woman are nothing short of brilliant yet underplayed, with the one with piano is one the finest cinematic pieces of recent times. There are ample tear-jerking moments in the movie for the weak and the tough of heart, but anyone with a heart will find it skip a few beats in the sequence where Viggo Mortensen lets go of his love.

Viggo Mortensen as the father was simply amazing. This (probably) method actor went so far as to starve himself and dress up as a homeless man in public places to prepare for his role. Cody Smit-McPhee does well as “Boy”, and whilst his role in the film is, for the most part, rather unremarkable, and it is Mortensen who carries the relationship in this piece, Smit-McPhee shows enough potential as a young actor for me to say he might be one to watch out for in future. You know you have a master actor when their cameo role can almost steal the film, which is exactly what happens when Robert Duvall appears as “Old Man”. Barely recognizable at first, and only on screen for 10 minutes or so, he is astonishing and delivers 100%. Charlize Theron is brilliant as always in short role as the mother.

Cinematography was at its best. The movie was beautifully filmed, highlighting the colours grey and white to show a world that died long ago. It is very depressing, and brilliantly engages the audience into the world and suffering of the protagonists. Literally everything is dying. The trees are all falling down, the sky and the sea are constantly grey, and even the land itself has lost it’s colour. This may make it sound boring, but it will shock you.

This is one of those rare movies that has acting, emotion, and realism rolled into one. There is gore and blood, but not to make the movie look cool for theaters. It seems realistic, such as when he pulls out the arrow he was shot with. Though being of the post-apocalypt genre, this actually is a love story between a man and his son. It also is a story about what makes us human.

After all these said, I don’t recommend this to everyone. Some may find this movie very slow and boring. Just don’t expect anything glamourous or some great action sequences. So give it a watch for its beauty. I rate it 7 out of 10.

Watch the trailer…


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