Directed By: John Hillcoat
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Reviewed By: Luke Walkley
End of the world? Only a few humans left, struggling to survive? Seen it all before then…
Happily that is not the case; based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, The Road at first sight appears to have jumped on the ‘post apocalyptic’ bandwagon along with ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘The Book of Eli’. I must admit I hadn’t really been fussed on seeing this film, due to the limited promotion and a trailer which, in truth, left nothing to be desired.
The film follows the story of a young boy, played brilliantly by newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee, and his father played by Viggo Mortensen. However rather than focusing on the inevitable cannibalistic actions of fellow survivors, has become so cliché in this genre, this tale looks at the deep emotional bond shared between father and son, as they fight on to survive in a World where they have nothing.
This film suffered in popularity due to its almost side-by-side release with ‘The Book of Eli’ and as such it did not enjoy a wide release in the UK as they were deemed too similar, though you will find that this is not the case. Eli showed the ‘fight to survival’ where ‘The Road’ shows ‘instinct to survive’, the natural care between a parent and child. The casting for this film was fantastic, with cameos from actors such as Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce, all who displayed their acting prowess with some gripping scenes. Mortensen provides an excellent performance as the father and as has to be expected in any of his films, he does take off his clothes…
The flashback sequences are beautifully crafted, showing the man and his wife (Theron) before the disaster, which is not actually shown or described in the film, sharing what could be their last moments with their child.
The music is another excellent inclusion, the subtle score composed by Nick Cave, is fitting and uplifting in some cases. The film itself is gritty and dark and while this at times creates a brilliant atmosphere, it is also the movies downside. At times, I struggled to make out what was actually happening on the screen.
All in all, this film will beat your expectations; Director John Hillcoat has effectively transformed the novel into a decent film. Helped with some big name actors and its differences to what would be considered similar films. It seems novelist Cormac McCarthy has a knack for creating great books to film, following the success of No Country For Old Men and All The Pretty Horses.
While this movie isn’t a ‘must-see’ it is worth watching, more so than others in this post apocalyptic genre that seems so popular recently. Time and time again you will have sat through the basic plot of The Road, however none have been more captivating.