THE ROAD

THE ROAD

 

John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” is about as dark and dismal as a feature can get.  Seeing it the day after “Precious,” It gave me a great illustration on the importance of hope in the cinemas. Given Precious’s sickness, and the period that the movie took place in (the late 80s,) her outlook might not be all that more optimistic than The Boys’ in “The Road,” yet Precious had hope and spirit, and that carried the picture.  “The Road” is about a time where hope has died along with most everything else, and survival is just something to do for those who can’t afford the luxuries of death.

The viewer is dropped into a post apocalyptic society, about as brutal as anything one can imagine.  What caused such destruction and devastation remains unclear, but it has happened and that is that.  These characters don’t much have the strength or energy to question such things anyway.  In a small role, Robert Duvall plays an old man who stated that he “always believed this was coming,” yet the others didn’t believe.  You can basically insert your religious, political or ecological doctrine here.

And his role is small.  All of the roles, save two are.  The film is about Viggo Mortenson as The Man and his son, The Boy.  I was lucky I didn’t see the movie poster…don’t let it fool you, Charlize, Robert, and Guy have roles so small, they are best described as cameos.

The Man knows that his days are numbered and we enter on their journey to the sea.  Along the way, he plans on preparing and educating The Boy, so as that he can survive without him.  Such education does not exclude teaching The Boy how to commit suicide.  In a land where a mother can matter-of-factly state, “They are going to kill us.  They are going to rape me, and then rape your son, and then they are going to kill us,” such options don’t seem out of the question.

And that is the film.  And it is a dark ride.  And I’m not sure that I learned too much.  I may have been entertained, but there are other ways for such entertainments.  The theme of the movie is a familiar one—the façade of humanity, and oh, how that can slip away!  The father preparing the son for adulthood is where the film has its legs—because really the son is already much wiser than the old man. But father knows best, and time has a way of wearing on your definition of what is right.

John Hillcoat stormed onto the scene with the Nick Cave penned Western from down under, “The Proposition.”  Even Nick Cave returns this time, providing the score.  And they both know how to give it all they have.  The film looks post apocalyptic, and I was hard-pressed to be able to tell how they pulled off some of the impressive landscapes. 

Still, I don’t know.  I’ve read “Lord of The Flies.”  I know how we’re only one crash landing away from savages.  I guess this calls into question the rationale of staying on “the good side.”  What is the point?  And what the hell are Guy Pearce and company going to do?  Are they even telling the truth?  If so, why would they stalk?  Why wouldn’t they just come up and say hello? PIGGY!

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