As I explore the films of Alan Clarke, I am constantly surprised at the strength of his vision as a filmmaker. Nowhere is it more apparent than in Road. Using a steady-cam, which was new technology at the time, at least for tv it was, and he makes stunning use of it here. The characters are hyper real, hyper sensitive and their situation is justifiably bleak, to highlight the living standards in the UK at the time.
I could not initially come to grips w/ the merger of Cartwright & Clarke's very different brands of abstraction. Cartwright's screenplay is primarily one of narrative self-reflexivity & self-conscious yearning 4 transcendence beyond cultural context. Clarke's directorial style resembles Akerman's. Halfway through, I understood this as a harsh Shakespearean study full of self-overhearing/violent, secular soliloquies.
"That's what you do, you drink, you listen to Otis, you get to the bottom of things and let rip." "What for?" "TO STOP GOIN' MAD." "...Oh." Funny in places, but mostly just bleak social critique set in a dystopian backdrop. As in the opening - Alan Clarke is screaming at us the whole film and uses rigorous camerawork and long takes to create a real visceral experience.
This might just be his masterpiece. Wish I would have waited, because, upon watching all of his other films thus far, especially the later ones with immaculate tracking shots, this simply resonates like a glowing gem. It's also just ...off. Like quasi-apocalyptic. We know Clarke can find the dirt but this is other planet. Someone here mentioned Andersson's best; it's a rightful comparison of ghostly displacement.
have to remind yourself that this was once shown on television. they would never show this on television now as way too honest tragic incendiary affecting. we rewatched this last night because had stupidly subjected ourselves to two episodes of bbc's tepid cowardly complicit 'Capital' & in this cracked gentrified epoch only alan clarke can purge our infernal working-class hearts
This is a perfect example of what Tarkovsky said: “Juxtaposing a person with an environment that is boundless, collating him with a countless number of people passing by close to him and far away, relating a person to the whole world, that is the meaning of cinema."
Absolutely mesmerising. Lesley Sharp's monologue-sequence in particular is brilliantly delivered and a definite highlight; but the general tone and the rhythm of the film, with those endless travelling shots, abrupt, Zulawski like movements of the camera and the seemingly decimated, post-apocalyptic setting (of Thatcher-era Britain), create one of the most bizarre and unusual experiences imaginable.