May 14, 2010
The Road - A Movie Review
A post-apocalyptic tale describing a journey taken by a father and his young son over a period of several months across a landscape blasted years before by an unnamed cataclysm that destroyed civilization and, seemingly, most life on earth. The Road is an amazing film few of you are likely to see. Not due to snobbery or lack of interest but because it depicts the arduous, grimy journey of a father and son across an American wasteland, as they avoid cannibalistic drifters and cling to life's most primal elements - survival, love, hope.
Hardly the best prospect for a gut-busting night at the cinema. First date movie? Erm, no. Rip-snorting horror flick? Look elsewhere. Sci-fi action adventure? Not really. No Country For Old Men author Cormac McCarthy is so hot right now that it's unsurprising his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road got the big-screen green light. Unlike No Country, The Road's scope and vivid handling aren't attached to a story that is an instant candidate for movie entertainment.
Watching Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee (a terrific young Australian actor) struggle with starvation, physical danger and deathly gloom is far from No Country's drug-deal-goes-wrong plot. Instead, The Road is a bleak, depressing odyssey you can firmly admire and marvel at, even as it rips your heart out. How underrated and highly skilled Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) has realised McCarthy's doom fable is impressive merely due to his being able to visually re-create the intense atmosphere McCarthy spelled out.
On a tiny Hollywood budget, Hillcoat uses devastated locations and shrewd special effects to immerse us within the painterly pain and hostility of a dying world. Though the film is hopelessly bleak, I still highly recommend it.