A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food--and each other. Written by
The cause of the global catastrophe is never specified. While both the book and the film strongly hint at two explanations (a worldwide nuclear war or a massive strike on the Earth by space-born objects), the filmmakers did not want to make the film about the characters' blame of lack thereof in the situation, and keep the focus on how The Man and The Boy would try to survive in the post-apocalyptic settings. See more »
The pistol the man carries with the boy (supposedly the same from his home) is a small caliber revolver. The pistol that the man and woman 'talk' over and even show the last 2 bullets is a large caliber revolver. This is clearly visible in each situation when the barrel is visible. See more »
"We are not gonna quit. We are gonna survive this." The Man
Survival is the ultimate motif of the Cormack McCarthy Pulitzer The Road. And so too is the film adaptation, faithful to the original while adding what McCarthy can'tthe actualization of a landscape barren of life and humans barren of humanity. Then again, the film's failure is being even bleaker than the source, a testimony to the power of the imagination.
Except for a father (Viggo Mortensen) and young son (Kodi Smit-Mcphee), who represents the hope of the human race as the story assumes the trappings of allegorical, post-apocalyptic literature and film where the desolate outside mirrors the lonely inside of the humans, not all of whom are willing to carry on the good fight. Suicide becomes a leitmotif, a companion to hope as if out of a Bergman film, an escape from the horrible aftermath of devastation never explained. So much the better because allegorically there are numerous ways for us to ruin our earth and our spirits. Not the least of which could be nuclear or cannibal; the former does not make an appearance while the latter is omnipresent.
Director John Hillcoat has emphasized more than McCarthy the role, by flashback, of the wife/mother (Charlize Theron), but overall he has taken dialogue directly from the novel and stayed true to the bleak landscape where the sun doesn't shine and the trees fall intermittently like humans giving up the ghost.
The gray tones and beat up humans are like those in most post- apocalyptic films; however, as in Children of Men to a lesser extent, the focus is on how to survive, not even how to avoid death. In both cases, it's up to the young ones to "carry a fire' (the mantra of The Road), itself a metaphor for the strength to survive:
"Everything depends on reaching the coast. I told you I would do whatever it takes." The Man
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