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Movie Review of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Starring Viggo Mortensen 2009-11-25 07:00:00

The Road: A Bleak Journey That Will Haunt You

It's not that I was expecting a film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road to be happy sunshine — I just wasn't expecting it to seem so possible.

The apocalyptic tale takes place in a wasteland in the future after most humans are gone. It's desolate, the sky is a brownish-gray, and the land seems to be covered with ash. Unlike showy 2012, this is an end-of-the-world tale stripped down, which makes it all the more realistic and chilling.

To see what I mean, just


We meet Man (Viggo Mortensen) and Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a father and son making their way down south because they can't survive another Winter in this ominous setting. (Charlize Theron plays their wife and mother through a series of flashbacks). With a meager amount of food left on the planet, the select few people remaining (and there aren't many) will basically kill for supplies — or turn to cannibalism for sustenance. If this sounds like a horror film, it's because it pretty much is one. In fact, it's the worst, most plausible kind: one that explores the evils of humanity.

I'm sure many viewers won't be able to (or won't want to) stomach the subject matter, but the film is worth seeing thanks to the relationship between the father and son. In terms of plot, there isn't a ton that happens, and most of the action involves bumping into new strangers, like an elderly man (Robert Duvall) and a threatening gang. Some may find the lack of events monotonous, but this is why father and son are so important. Man is an average Joe who questions how far he'll go to keep Boy safe and what that means for his conscience; Boy is an innocent who still looks for good in people. The film obviously raises questions about the nature of who we are when tested — but the story is ultimately about their relationship.


As Man, Viggo Mortensen gives a mesmerizing performance that should bring his name up around awards season, and Smit-McPhee as his son is a great child actor, especially given the dark subject matter.

If you're a McCarthy fan or even just a fan of great acting, you'll want to check this one out. But, I'd suggest saving it for next week — after you find your Thanksgiving warm fuzzies somewhere else.

If you'd like to review a movie you've seen recently, check out the Movie Reviews Group in community. I may even feature your critique on the site!

tarabara1229 tarabara1229 7 years
Thanks, Buzz!!
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
agreed for me also -- I love Cormac McCarthy and this book moved me very deeply. can't wait to see the movie!
Entertainment Entertainment 7 years
I haven't read the book, but it's on my list for the Thanksgiving weekend! (Not exactly great for the "holiday spirit," but oh well.) The general consensus I've heard regarding the book versus the movie is that the movie stays really true to the book — but that the book (like most books turned movies) is a bit better. Hope this helps!
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 7 years
I agree with kismekate! How does it compare to the book? It is probably my favorite piece of modern fiction. No novel has moved me or made me think as much as The Road.
kismekate kismekate 7 years
Buzz, did you read the book? It's one of my favorites and I'm really hoping it didn't stray far. I'd love to hear your comparison if you've read it. If you haven't read it -- get on it! It's incredible.
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