Movie Review–The Road (2009)

Written by Joe Penhall (screenplay) and Cormac McCarthy (novel)
Directed by John Hillcoat
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smitt-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce
Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
1 hr 51 min

Available on Netflix


The Road is based on a novel of the same name, written by American fiction master Cormac McCarthy. It is the bleak account of an unnamed man who, with his young son, journeys across the barren, ash-covered wilderness of post-apocalyptic America. McCarthy’s novels have a tendency to be bleak, dark, and unsentimental. They also have a tendency to be adapted into Hollywood movies. And unlike most recent adaptation, Hollywood has been true to the spirit of McCarthy’s stories. The Road is no different.

The story is one without hope–at least not the hope you would expect from a mainstream Hollywood movie. The audience knows it will not end well…for anybody. But the characters don’t know that, and this creates the pathos that drives the movie. How are these two hopeless men feeling. What dreams of hope haunt their souls. The Road perfectly captures the relationship between father and son, between doom and destiny , and between love and desperation.

The images are as haunting as the tale itself. Just look at the landscape and how it’s gloom matches that of the characters’ faces. It’s remarkable how beautiful the movie is when the story is so ugly and sad. Don’t watch this as an adventure flick. Don’t watch it as an uplifting story about a father and son. It’s really a character study, an it looks deeper than most movies dare. The Road is a real look into the human spirit–it’s ugliness, its fears, and its ability to push on and on even in the name of a hopeless cause.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 11.01.58 PM copy

3 1/2 out of 4 stars


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