Along a dusty grey horizon, a father and son slowly plod. They push a shopping cart filled with their scant, grime-covered possessions – all that they have are a few tattered rags, a gun with two bullets and an unflagging love for one another.
Director John Hillcoat offers a corrosive adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by American master Cormac McCarthy, and like the novel, The Road is spare on detail but epic in its implications. The Man (Viggo Mortensen) wakes up one night, and he and his wife (Charlize Theron) discover the world is on the threshold of ruin. How this came to pass is never explained – instead we witness only the aftermath of a wholesale cataclysm, relayed with chilling realism. With food supplies dwindling and communities beginning to turn on each other, the Man sets out with his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) on a relentless journey of survival. Slumping across a barren United States, they contend daily with starvation, extreme weather and the pervasive threat of cannibalism. Through their occasional yet charged conversations and chance encounters with the odd fellow vagabond (Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce, among others), Hillcoat explores the meaning of their brutal and seemingly thankless quest.
There are no asteroids or alien invasions in this stark apocalyptic tale. Filmed mostly on location at various sites across the United States – including post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans – the film avoids the bravado of high-impact effects, focusing instead on powerful narrative lines and performances. Mortensen throws down an utterly raw turn as a man with the weight of the world – and all his worldly belongings – on his shoulders. And in what is largely a two-hander, the young Smit-Mcphee offers solid proof of his talent, imparting the Boy’s fear and visceral courage with shattering tenderness.
Superb cinematography and art direction capture the desolation and strange beauty of the ashen landscape, as the dispossessed pair travel through gutted cities and forests of charred trees on their way to an uncertain future. But despite the wasted, empty world, a note of hope comes through the Man’s dedication to stay on the trail. Though we witness the innate frailty of human civilization, we also come to understand the implacable strength of the human spirit. —tiff.net
John Hillcoat (born 1961) is an Australian screenwriter and film director. Hillcoat was born in Queensland, Australia, and was raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. As a child, his paintings were featured in the Art Gallery of Hamilton. He has repeatedly worked with Nick Cave and also the band Depeche Mode. His film The Road, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, premiered at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, and was released in the U.S. in November 2009. —Wikipedia
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A very intense movie experience, which really is the reason I am going to the cinema. The movie has its minor flaws, a few script-mess ups and a weak score but the bulldozing force of its vision events… read review
In reading and viewing themes about a despairing society, I think Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of a post-apocalyptic setting stands out the most than John Hillcoat’s adaptation for… read review
Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” is my favorite piece of modern literature I have ever read so I went into this movie as a skeptic because I loved the novel so much. Now, As far as set design and over… read review