The Road 2009
R | 1h 51min | Adventure, Drama | 8 October 2009 (Usa)
It’s a post-apocalyptic world, several years after whatever the cataclysmic event, which has in turn caused frequent quakes as further potential hazards. The world is gray and getting quickly grayer as more and more things die off. A man and his pre-teen son, who was born after the apocalypse, are currently on the road, their plan to walk to the coast and head south where the man hopes there will be a more hospitable environment in which to live. The man has taught his son that they are the “good people” who have fire in their hearts, which in combination largely means that they will not resort to cannibalism to survive. The man owns a pistol with two bullets remaining, which he will use for murder/suicide of him and his son if he feels that that is a better fate for them than life in the alternative. Food and fuel are for what everyone is looking. The man has taught his son to be suspect of everyone that they may meet, these strangers who, out of desperation, may not only try to steal what they have managed to scavenge for their own survival, but may kill them as food. Although life with his father in this world is all the boy has known, he may come to his own thoughts as to what it means holistically to be one of the good or one of the bad. Meanwhile, the man occasionally has thoughts to happier times with his wife/the boy’s mother before the apocalypse, as well as not as happy times with her after the apocalypse and the reason she is no longer with them.
I just got home from seeing “The Road” and my stomach is still in a knot. I never read the book and therefore won’t be making any comparisons. I’ll simply comment on the film.
I can’t imagine the performances being any better from any of the actors, starting at Viggo and working my way down to the smallest roles. I can’t imagine the bleak post-apocalyptic world being portrayed any more realistically. I can’t imagine the general feeling of sadness, desperation, hopelessness, terror and pain being captured more accurately. If that was the goal, the people involved in the making of this movie did their job magnificently.
Having said that, it isn’t for everyone. I saw this movie alone because I had a feeling my wife wouldn’t be into it. It’s tough to watch. However, in the midst of this recession brought on by greed and materialism, I think it’s a movie that everyone of age SHOULD see in order to put things back into perspective, if only for a day.
I had a lump in my throat through most of the movie and was desperate to get home and hug my two boys through most of it as well. I also felt like downsizing our entire life in terms of the unnecessary “stuff” we have. I imagined how many homeless people wander the streets right now with that feeling of hopelessness and desperation. What more could I ask from a Saturday afternoon at the theater? It’s this kind of movie that helps maintain a degree of integrity in the film industry among the inaneness that surrounds it.
Director: John Hillcoat
Writers: Cormac McCarthy (novel), Joe Penhall (screenplay)
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee