Friday, December 18, 2009

The Road

One of the best films of the year, possibly of all time Made for fathers and sons, fans of outstanding filmmaking and the Cormac McCarthy novel from which it's adapted.

Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language.

The Road

not a fan of books. I usually don’t read them. I don’t consider it a
fun way to pass my time. But sometimes I’ll see a film that I enjoy so
much that I’ll rush out, grab the novel and fly through it. The Road
was one of those films. The second I got out of the press screening, I
picked up Cormac McCarthy’s novel (by the same title) and read it in
two days. The last time I did this was with another McCarthy adapted
film, No Country For Old Men. Much like No Country, The Road
is what I consider a “perfect adaptation” – adding and removing nothing
at all, reorganizing and compacting the structure of the story to make
it work in the film-medium. Just like it’s novel and adaptation, the
film version of The Road is absolutely perfect.

The Road
is set along the eastern coast of the post apocalyptic United States.
There’s never a reason given for what caused “the end of the world,”
but hints point their fingers towards a nuclear holocaust, a global
warming disaster or catastrophe caused by the over-pollution of Earth.
Whatever the cause may be, the world is dying; it is rapidly
growing colder and colder. The sky is overcast and gray with icy clouds
and falling ash. The nights are so pitch black that it’s impossible to
see enough to travel. Raging roaming fires have burned the world’s
population of already-dead trees; those trees still standing are so
unstable that slightest trembles can bring an entire forest to the
ground. Animals, vegetation and all plant life are dead. Food is
scarce. The majority of mankind is dead. The remaining humans fall into
two categories: traveling scavengers on foot who collect useful items
(blankets, weapons and combustible fuel) while in search of food, and
barbaric cannibalistic gangs who hunt the scavengers. The world is

Viggo Mortensen (Lord Of The Rings) plays the nameless father of a, too, nameless boy; they fall into the scavenger category. The Road
simply follows The Man and The Boy on their journey south – hoping to
find warmer weather – dodging the cannibals and in search of food.
There has never been a stronger fiction tale exemplifying a father’s
love towards his son than that in The Road.

As dark and depressing as The Road
may be, there is a certain hope that comes from it – making this
hard-to-watch film well-worth sitting through. Although The Boy was
born after the world-ending event and never knew life as we now know
it, because of his father’s stories and teachings, The Boy holds a
forgotten humanity that doesn’t exist outside the bond of him and his
father. The Man is simply trying to teach The Boy how to “carry the
fire” within and survive on his own for the day when The Man will no
longer be with him – making The Boy the last remaining piece of

filmmaking, directing and adaptation would be nothing without an
excellent cast. Mortensen gives his best performance to date, truly
conveying to you what it would be like to be a father in this scenario
– often times without saying a word. Child actor Kodi Smit-McPhee
brings a non-existent innocence the dead world, fully making you
understand what his awful young life would be like. Even the bit
characters by Charlize Theron (Monster), Robert Duvall (The Godfather), Guy Pearce (Memento) and Garret Dillahunt (The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford)
stand out as noteworthy performances. Every aspect of the film fits
perfectly together with the rest, making it absolutely flawless.

Considering how busy theaters will be over the next few weeks, it will be a perfect time to get out and see a little film like The Road
– a film worthy of investing yourself in emotionally. I give you my
word that you’ll leave the theaters dwelling on the things you’ve just
seen for days. The Road is an impressionable film that will never leave you.

Photo credit: Dimension Films

5 out of 5

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