The Road is a brain-lingering and moving film well worth a spot in a home theatre collection.
Australian director John Hillcoat’s (The Proposition) close adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) novel The Road, is a brain-lingering and moving film that definitely deserves a spot in your home theatre collection.
The Road is not a film for the faint-hearted and paranoid, nor is it for those hankering to see another Pandora-esqe paradise at the closing of the movie. Set in a grey, desolate post-apocalyptic Midwestern America, a man and his young son make their way towards the coast to escape a winter that they will surely not survive. The decaying, freezing environment is littered with rotting debris from a civilisation that suffered from the devastating effects of a massive cataclysm. Father and son soldier on through horrific and gruesome displays of human behaviour devoid of morals and promise to continue “carrying the fire” – the will to live within the bounds of what it is to be one of the “good guys”.
The film is frankly quite terrifying. What makes it scary is the possibility that the world that we know now and its inhabitants may as well end up the same way in the not so distant future. Mankind is almost obsolete, save for a surviving few, most of whom have resorted to cannibalism.
One particularly morbid scene – when father and son stumble on a group of writhing, screaming people trapped in a basement begging not to be sent to the smoking house (yes…the kind you make ham and bacon in), will be imprinted in the minds of the audience for days. As in any good film, The Road offers questions that dig deep at the core of a person’s morals and humanity and the reality of life and its inevitable end.
Part of what makes the delivery of the film effective in its entirety is the casting of the protagonists. Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings Trilogy) plays the Man brilliantly. His moving portrayal will make the audience wish that if put in a similar situation, there would be someone exactly like the character he plays to guide them through the barren landscape. Mortensen has given the appropriate depth and soul that he needs to tackle such a heavy character. Australian child actor, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Romulus, My Father) is to praised for his portrayal of the Man’s son. Smit-McPhee’s portrayal of the boy tugs at the audience’s heartstrings and anyone with a child will be have the urge to hug and hold him and tell him that everything will be all right.
The Road is a very powerful film. It has the capacity to truly terrify the audience as well as reduce them to tears. It is a film that lingers in the memory and will be remembered for man’s capability to still “carry the fire” amidst a cataclysm that almost obliterates humanity.