Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Road - Cineworld, 9/1/10

Adaptation of Cormac McCarthys contemporary classic novel.

The novel isn't disrupted by chapters which means that when reading it there isn't a natural place to stop and "rest". This, I imagine, was a deliberate move by McCarthy in order to give the reader the same sense of constant travel that the protagonists in the book endure. It's a successful technique because I read the novel in one sitting and was physically exhausted at its end.

The story concerns a "man" and his son, the "boy", walking the road in a post-apocalyptic world. Everything is dead; plants, insects, birds, fish...everything. Earthquakes shake the world around the father and son, trees fall without warning, it is always cold, it is wet, gangs of cannibals stalk the road looking for a meal, nobody can be trusted. It is a bleak and desolate world.

Like the novel there is little here to "enjoy"...this is a film that forces you to endure alongside the characters. I left feeling drained, physically and emotionally. The grey skies of the dead world and the terrible omnipresent cold were reflected in the cold, harsh winter of my city. A genuine sense of dread and defeat filled me.

While that may not sound like a reason to go and spend some time in the cinema you should go and see this. Viggo Mortensen (the man) and the boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are both devastatingly good. Not for a moment do you doubt that they are father and son. Mortensens sense of duty to the boy and his willingness to risk everything to protect him feels very real.

At it's heart that is what elevates this film from being depressing...the relationship between the father and son, the love, the ties that bind them, the nature of those ties and the desperate battle to survive together.

An instant classic.


  1. I agree with you that this was an excellent film. Odly though I think it will be a good while before I can watch it again as I found it really draining

  2. Hard film to swallow, it was bleak and unrelenting.
    Not one to pop into see if you're worried about the future. No! if you have that kind of disposition, don't get off the bus at the cinema, just carry on to the next stop and treat yourself to a facial or something.

  3. I suppose there is something wrong with me but I enjoyed this book and film quite a bit. Provided me a great opportunity to think about my life and what really matters. The relationship between the man and boy is very inspiring.

    I liked your good, brief review.