Note: I saw this movie on November 9, 2009, at a special screening at the Marq*E theatre on I-10 near Silber. Since I've become a member of the Houston Film Critics Society, I have begun attending screenings. I still prefer my Friday afternoon pilgrimage, but sometimes the screenings are convenient and fun. And they serve popcorn and Mr. Pibb and the ticket is free! "The Road" will open on Wednesday, November 25th. Lwh
Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to Cormac's world; Cormac McCarthy wrote the Pulitzer Prize novel "The Road" and the screenplay was adapted by Joe Penhall. You probably recall that McCarthy wrote the novel "No Country for Old Men" that became the Best Picture by the Coen Boys in 2007. Can lightning strike twice?
You will soon hear that this movie is very dark, depressing, and discouraging. All of those adjectives are accurate. The setting is life on earth after an unknown apocalyptic event that has left human existence in a dark, gray state; literally and figuratively. Trees have no leaves and no apparent animal life. I was amazed that the cinematography was consistently without color yet the sets were true to the story. There is much that is amazing about this film.
Director John Hillcoat, originally from Australia, has created a masterpiece that will be the "talk of the town" as soon as the masses have an opportunity to see it and spread the word.
Viggo Mortensen stars as The Man who struggles to survive with his young son, The Boy, (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they trudge South with only the clothes on their back and a shopping cart. And a revolver with two bullets. The relationship between these two characters is the centerpiece of the storyline.
Along The Road, the two main characters encounter Bad Guys and bad events that are terrifying and treacherous. This movie is full of metaphors for hope, God, salvation, fear, love, tenderness, mysteries of life, and the human experience of failure and survivability. The editing and photography is truly remarkable and will take you on a ride that will haunt you in such a way that at times you will not want to look at the screen yet you are scared to look away.
The acting by Viggo and The Boy were memorable as the bond between them is the thing of Greek myths. Other outstanding performances were by Robert Duvall as Old Man and Cherlize Theron as Wife. When you see this movie, it is significant that the characters have universal names such as The Man rather than your typically clever Hollywood name. Only Old Man is called by a name - Eli, which is Hebrew and the traditional meaning is God or ascend from God. But count the actual references to God in this movie.
There were many aspects of this excellent movie that pulled on my heart strings, but the one that got me the most was the love and devotion of the father and son. I spent much time during the movie thinking about my fatherhood and how would I handle this tragic situation if I was dirty and starving to death yet it was my responsibility to take care of my son. And I had a pistol with only two bullets and I was scared and overmatched.
This film has Academy Award nominations written all over it and surely it will make the Top 10 for Best Picture. As a reminder, for the first time this year there will be ten nominations for Best Picture
Many of us will interpret this movie differently; hence the talk of the town. McCarthy is known for pushing the emotional envelope in his books and Hillcoat sticks pretty close to the novel. This is not a fun movie and if you need more time to digest your turkey, then wait a week or so before you tackle this holiday behemoth. Rock 'n Roll.