Academy Award® nominee Viggo Mortensen leads an all-star cast including Guy Pearce, Academy Award® winners Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron and an incredible debut performance from Kodi Smit-McPhee. “The Road” is a thrilling and deeply moving tale of survival as a father and his young son journey across a barren, post apocalyptic America. Respectfully adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s hallowed novel, “The Road” boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of; a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.
2009 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Infrequent strong violence, language and gory images
It’s Sunday evening. Monday is Christmas Eve. Unlike most of my colleagues at work and indeed most other people everywhere else around these parts, I’ll be at my desk tomorrow, protecting the planet so the rest of you can enjoy the festive season, secure in the knowledge that the Earth is in safe hands. Scanning the skyline for environmental Armageddon and other unpleasant circumstances, I’ll be poised, like a coiled snake, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice, should someone send in an e-mail for any reason that’s needs answering. I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but when I’m at work I really do feel like I’m one of the Avengers or part of the Justice League. This movie features a hero too.
The trailer is really quite deceptive (and actually not very good), as it seems to suggest this is some sort of action film. It does have moments, but overwhelmingly it’s slow, quiet and thoughtful, with most of the action involving hiding rather than fighting. I have to admit to having a soft spot for post apocalyptic movies; I think they probably reflect my life in some ways. However, this is possibly the best film I’ve seen for the first time this year. It has few weaknesses. It’s heartbreakingly sad. As you watch an ordinary, decent guy trying to protect his wife and young son from everyone and everything, the hopelessness it presents will pretty well jump out of the screen, sit down and embrace you; eww, gross. With so many superheroes and action-heroes routinely overcoming impossible odds in films, it’s easy to forget that most of us aren’t actually like that and there’s a limit to what we can do. Seeing The Man (none of the characters’ names are ever given) slowly give up more and more of himself and his humanity is depressing beyond words and what few happy moments there are (and “happy” has to be taken to mean better relative to everything else), are quickly crushed. The scene with the wallet and wedding ring is a real killer and the ending will make you want to cry; it did me. The scene when they catch up with the guy who’s stolen their belongings is pretty shattering too. The photography is great. I watched it on a Blu-ray disc and really gets across the whole look and feel of the landscape; everything dead, everything smashed up, looted, burnt out, destroyed, colourless. The whole time it’s damp, cold and miserable, the sun hardly shines and it rains, a lot. (Actually that’s not unlike the view from my lounge window recently, what with the weather and all the fly-tipping around the rubbish bins.) The acting is top draw stuff too. The two main characters spend most of their time sleeping, looking for food, trying to keep warm and walking. This doesn’t sound very interesting, but the script is so good that you’ll want to celebrate whenever they get a bit of luck. The only thing that lets it down slightly is the ending, which has a rather big “why didn’t they” moment. I actually wanted to get something to eat whilst I was watching it, but I felt so bad for the characters that I didn’t; I needed to empathise with their hunger, (although I did draw the line at soaking myself in the shower, opening all the windows and rolling around in the dirt outside in the dark). This is a bleak movie; it offers a few moments of hope, but it’s overwhelmingly a wrist-slasher. It’s also a must-see film. I’m going to buy the book it’s based on.
Recommend for anyone with emotions. Probably not a great film for Christmas Day viewing; or Lieutenant Commander Data.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Like Batman, he’s not perfect and he doesn’t have any superpowers, but The Man’s single-minded devotion to protecting his son is pure Badass. Yes, that’s badass with a capital B.