The Road

The Road

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Charlize Theron
Directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition)
Rated R for some violence, disturbing images, and language
Appropriate for ages 15+

    Based on the best-selling book by No Country For Old Men author Cormac McCarthy, The Road follows a man (Mortensen) and his boy (Smit-McPhee) as they try to survive the end of the world.  We don’t know why the world has ended, it could have been a meteorite, nuclear holocaust, or the tail-end of 2012, but no matter the cause, the world is coming to a slow end.  As all of the vegetation and animal life have died off, some men have turned to cannibalism and those that haven’t simply starve until they can scrounge up their next meal.

    I was really scared about this movie going in.  Not about the subject matter, but about the quality.  I read the book a few years back and then heard that John Hillcoat, who directed the brilliant film The Proposition, was going to direct.  Needless to say I was very excited.  The movie was supposed to come out last Fall, but then got delayed due to “not being ready for release.”  Rumors were all over the place that the film was a disaster and what I once looked forward to so much wouldn’t come to fruition.  But I still had hope.  After all, Titanic is among a large group of great films that needed more time.  Maybe that’s what it was.  You just can’t rush genius, right?  And of course you can’t release any time but Fall because that’s awards season.  So holding off a year might be healthy for the film.  Well those were my thoughts.  I was looking forward to this film more than any other film in the last two years which usually leads to nothing but disappointment. 

    But not this time.  The visions of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book I read were precisely what I saw on screen.  The emotions of anger and fear I felt, the struggle to live, and the pure exhaustion, were all there, perfectly laid out by Hillcoat.  This would have had to have been a maddening undertaking and it was done better than I had hoped.

    It helps to have a cast that can carry out the mission and Mortensen puts himself into a role maybe better than any actor in Hollywood.  He is remarkable as the man, giving a convincing portrayal of a desperation who wants nothing more than for his son to survive this new hostile world.  The rest of the cast here also does a commendable job and there are some terrific cameos by Robert Duvall, Garret Dillahunt, and Guy Pearce.

    So if you couldn’t tell, this is not a movie that will entertain you and leave you feeling happy and warm all over.  This is a dark, dismal film based on a dark, dismal book, but it is a truly great experience if you are in the right mood and frame of mind for it.  A+