• Title: The Road
  • Director: John Hillcoat
  • Released: 2009

The Road is a gritty Dystopian film starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, based on the book of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. It follows The Man and The Boy as they journey along The Road, overcoming various struggles in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in a bid to survive.

I thought this film was ok. It certainly successfully portrayed a depressing, futuristic America overrun with ‘bad guys’ who regularly engage in in murder, cannibalism and brutality. There were quite grim and gory scenes, and I’m pretty sure nastier bits of the book were omitted from the film adaptation.

When looking at the father/son dynamic in the film, I know it is designed to evoke powerful emotions in the audience like love and sympathy, but  I couldn’t help but get irritated at The Boy – his frequent distress calls for “Papa” (even when there is no danger) almost drove me mad.

Yet despite The Boy’s incessant whining,  the most irritating character was The Boy’s mother, played by Charlize Theron. The few scenes she had powerfully showed the mother’s cold-hearted behaviour towards her family, making me dislike her almost instantly. However, in some twisted way, was she doing them a kindness? She knew she was going to die, and wanted to make it easier for them to deal with. As the narrator says, ‘She was gone and the coldness of it was her final gift’.

On the subject of narration, I really didn’t enjoy the excessive use of narration in the film. Surely that’s what reading the book is for?

However, the story progressed at a suitable rate. Paradoxically, it felt like nothing much happened, and yet everything happened – an entire story unfolded and 2 characters progressed physically, and morally. Unusually, there were no scenes I found  particularly action-packed or memorable, it was just a morose journey of survival, yet I wasn’t bored either.

Overall, I liked this film. It made me feel things – anger, annoyance, disgust, a dash of sadness too. Would I watch it again? Maybe.

– Judith
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6 thoughts on “Film Review: The Road

  1. I read this book – and hated the world it portrayed – but what brilliant writing. The film was a bit too much for me though – spent half the time looking through fingers!. Hah!

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    1. Very gory and very depressing – I couldn’t stand the much either
      No chapters, no punctuation, the boy, the man, the continuous grey world around them… it was very tough to read.

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  2. I really like this movie. I haven’t ready the books so I have no opinion on that or on the adaptation from book to film.
    I do agree that the kid is a bit annoying (a good child actor though).
    I didn’t pay much attention to the quantity or quality of the narration but now that you’ve mentioned it, perhaps it wasn’t all necessary. I seem to remember a part where he narrator tells us of how the trees are falling and at the same time we see shots of trees falling- seems like we only need one of those.
    Aside from these points, and yours which I can’t really disagree with, I thought the characters were very real and amazingly portrayed by the cast. I’m not being biased because of my love for Aragorn; Viggo Mortensen is genuinely fantastic.
    And at the centre of it all is a story of a parent and their child fighting for their lives and fighting for one another no matter what. It was a unique telling of something that (almost) everybody can relate to.
    I’ve watched it maybe 4 times and every time I cried the whole way through (for some reason, really badly when they drink the coca cola) and when it finished I full on ugly sob cried and rang my dad to tell him I love him. So through pros and cons of the movie, ultimately, it worked like a charm on me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow that’s such a personal little story – thank you for sharing! I completely agree about the father/son dynamic being central to the film and that came across really well. It was a mix between tough love (in times of crisis) and compassion (in times of “relaxation” – like in the bunker). 😊

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      1. No problem 🙂
        Yeah I agree, it was a nice wave of emotion giving us a much needed break.

        Nice post btw, I like the points you made. Oh and in my original comment I meant “I haven’t read the book”…. not “I haven’t ready the books”. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This film was truly horrendous…for all the right reasons! I felt as isolated and in despair as the lead character and desperate for the misery to end! So i’d say on that front, the director did good! I haven’t watched it again purely because it left me in a shrowd of misery for at least 2 days after!

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