in Review

On the Road Again

The Road

Another one of Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novels takes to the big screen and although the film may not be the critical success that No Country For Old Men was it’s still a film to be reckoned with. Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) takes on this gritty adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, about a father and son surviving in a post apocalyptic America after an undisclosed disaster has taken it’s toll.

Here were shown a ravaged world of broken buildings and withered trees, where a lack of food has led to cannibalism and other extreme acts of violence. Things like electricity and even the most basic forms of technology are long gone and the world has been reduced to a primitive state full of scavengers and thieves. We follow “The Man” (Viggo Mortensen) and his unnamed son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) fighting against their surroundings in an effort to make it to the coast. Where most inhabitants have become violent and ruthless we watch as The Man tries to teach his son to survive while still maintaining some form of righteousness as a human being, as his son always wants to be assured “Were the good guys right?”

I’ll start by saying that Viggo and Kodi are both standouts in this bleak yet moving picture. Both highly convincing and strong as a struggling father and son, both worthy of Oscar nominations in my opinion. The film is essentially weighted on their performances and they truly bring Cormac McCarthy’s words to life. The supporting cast is small but as well genuine, with screen vet Robert Duvall being another standout but he’s always good.

Though it’s a deeply engaging story with a wonderful cast I think the settings and overall look steal the show. I’ve never seen such a convincing blend of CGI with nature to create such astounding surroundings. I’ll tell you now that if this film doesn’t win some kind of award for it’s setting or cinematography, then someone is about to get straight up murdered.

Though I’m yet to read the book that I bought a year ago, I hear that this was a fairly faithful adaptation. I guess all the flashback segments with Charlize Theron were new additions but those were brief and never really distracted the viewer from anything. Truly a story that captures immense violence and suspense while still keeping a sense of innocence. The Road is brimming with powerful themes of life and death and is a film that you wont soon forget. It’s definitely one of the better film’s I’ve seen this year and an excellent film to kick off the November to December transition, where the weather starts getting colder but the films start getting better.

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