Saturday, November 28, 2009

In a moment the world changed forever.

Based on Cormac McCarthy's novel by the same name, The Road (Hillcoat, 2009) is a post-apocalytpic tale of a man and his son trying to survive by any means possible.  Starring Viggo Mortensen as "the man" and new-comer Kodi Smit-McPhee as "the boy," this film is dark, eerie, and throughly captivating from beginning to end.  And as someone who has read the book, it certainly stayed true to McCarthy's original work so fans will be happy.

Like the book, the film is incredibly simplistic and everything from costumes to set decor were stripped to the bare-minimal.  The desaturated colors and minimal score create an utterly chilling effect.  This is certainly a very dark view of the world.  "The most arresting aspect of The Road is just how fully the filmmakers have realized this bleak, blighted landscape of a modern society reduced to savagery," commented New York Times' top film critic, A.O. Scott.  But it is the loving relationship of father and son that off-sets this gloominess so well and draws you in.  And both Mortensen and Smit-McPhee put in outstanding performances.

With a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, this seems to be a well-liked film.  Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquire stated, "I cannot think of another film this year that has stayed with me, its images of dread and fear - and yes, perhaps hope - kicking around like such a terrible dream."  It is certainly bleak, but hope still resonates.  I'll be curious to hear what people who have not read the book think of the film.  Some of the details, or perhaps lack there of, seemed more obvious in the book.  For example, the characters (other than Ely) have no names.  And the repetitive motifs and symbols of fire and hope might have been more noticeable in the text as well.

So while I would not try to argue that it is better than the book, it is certainly a well-made,
worthwhile film.

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