The Road (2009) Poster

(I) (2009)

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7/10
Faithful adaptation that still offers something new
DanielKing19 October 2009
Just got back from seeing THE ROAD.

I had been very impressed by the novel and was concerned about how it would be adapted. The tone of the novel is almost unremittingly bleak and a 100% faithful adaptation would be very difficult to watch.

I'm happy to report that the film is very good indeed. It solves the problem of being unendurably depressing by concentrating on the emotional impact of the unspecified Armageddon, rather than the day to day fight for food, shelter and so on. So while at times it remains very upsetting it is shot through with hope rather than despair. I always felt the end of the novel was somewhat out of kilter with the rest of it but in the film it seems quite appropriate.

I think the film is more about the collapse of civility rather than civilization: for a film that shows the last remnants of mankind struggling to eke out an existence it is remarkably concerned with relationships. That's probably why the exact cause of the catastrophe is left blank: the film isn't really about the end of the world so much as the end of society. It's an interesting companion piece to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN in which an ageing man sees nothing but horror in the modern world. In THE ROAD a man convinces himself, for the sake of his son, that humanity will abide even in the face of appalling conditions.
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9/10
"You must think I'm from another world."
MisterWhiplash21 October 2009
The wonderful thing about the Road is that it will more than likely please the two camps: the one that has not read Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer prize-winning book, and the one that has. There's the nervous feeling one gets when watching the theatrical trailer, though - will it be this super action-packed spectacle, will those images that open the trailer with "THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR!" stick around, and will Charlize Theron actually be in the movie that much? As it turns out, if you liked the book very much and worried about how its uber-bleak and incredibly dark and (especially) gray landscapes would appear, it provides that perfectly. And if you haven't read the book... it still works as a movie, as a simple-but-not story of a father and son survival drama- and clinging on to their humanity- first, and then a post-apocalypse thriller far second.

To describe the plot is not impossible but sort of unnecessary. All you need to know going in (if you're part of not-read-book camp) is that a father and son, after becoming on their own after the mother of the house exits, are traveling together across a true post-apocalypse landscape to a coast. We never are given a fully clear explanation as to why or how the apocalypse happened. This is more than fine; because John Hillcoat's film centers on the father and son (called in the credits simply Father and Son, played by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee), there doesn't need to be anything really specific. At least this will be fine for most people who may be by now tired of the usual viral or religious or (damn) 2012-type explanations. We're given hints though, to be sure, that there may have been mutations or some kind of earth-bound phenomenon (earthquakes happen a couple of times), and past this we, like the travelers, are left to our own devices.

How it happened isn't as fascinating and visually compelling, anyway, than how it looks. The Road provides us many scenes and vistas that are precisely grim and desolate and terrible. Some of these are full of visual details like big city-scape shots, and others, like when the Father and Son are on the ramp of a highway, is intimate and hard (this setting also provides one of the most touching moments as Mortensen's character finally 'lets go' of two important details from the deceased mother of his son). And other times Hillcoat lets us just take in the gray-ness of everything, just as one could take in the sight of masses of flies in his film the Proposition. It's against this backdrop of rain and sludge and grime and decay that imbues this intense bond between the father and son so greatly, and the complexity that comes with not just staying alive but retaining humanity and dignity and doing right and wrong by the people they encounter.

This may not be news to people who read the book. I still, having read it two years ago (which sadly seems like long ago in usually remembering specific images of a book), can't get the descriptions of scenes out of my head, or the stark manner of how characters talked and dread and existential horror was relayed. But, again, the film not only respects this but gives it further life. Dialog scenes in the movie- save for a couple of the flashback scenes with Charlize Theron's Mother character- are never obtrusive to the storytelling, which is a rightful concern to have with an adaptation of the book. And, more importantly, the acting and chemistry between the two leads is incredible. Mortensen is a given to be an actor embedded in his character, so much so that when he takes off his shirt we see his bony torso as being really that, and watching him is magnetic. Yet it's also crucial to see how good the kid Smit-McPhee is too, especially when it comes time for scenes where the boy has to deal with his father's growing desperation or the electrifying showdown with a thief.

To be sure, a couple of walk-on roles by Guy Pearce as another fellow traveler and especially Robert Duvall as a "90 year old man" as his character says provide some needed space, and Hillcoat has a couple of very wise flashback/dream bits with The Man and his wife (namely a very small, brilliant moment at a piano), but it's the all on the two main character to lead the film, and it's on them that it delivers so strongly. As long as you know that this is a film centered not on big action sequences (though there are a couple), and not on big special effects (though there's that too), and it's more akin to a life-or-death-and-what-else story not unlike Grave of the Fireflies, you'll know what you're getting with the Road.

It is very depressing on the whole, and not exactly what I would recommend as a 'first-date' movie - unless you're so hot for Mortensen and/or Cormac McCarthy you don't care either way. However, it's *good* depressing, and equally the best adaptation of the book possible while a tremendous, original vision for the casual movie-goer.
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8/10
Agonizingly desperate and sad
chaoscraz16 November 2009
While watching this movie I thought to myself that it was good I had already read the book. This was because the movie is agonizingly desperate and sad--often times it was just too much to absorb or handle in such a large dose. You can't put this movie down like you can with the book. Unlike the book being beautifully written, in an almost poetic prose, which distracted the reader from the subject, the movie is not beautifully shot. In your face is desperation, agony, and death.

I can understand why this movie was shelved for a year. Do not go into it looking to be entertained, at best look to be intellectually stimulated. This is no popcorn movie.
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Very important movie ...
filmy128 November 2009
I just got home from seeing "The Road" and my stomach is still in a knot. I never read the book and therefore won't be making any comparisons. I'll simply comment on the film.

I can't imagine the performances being any better from any of the actors, starting at Viggo and working my way down to the smallest roles. I can't imagine the bleak post-apocalyptic world being portrayed any more realistically. I can't imagine the general feeling of sadness, desperation, hopelessness, terror and pain being captured more accurately. If that was the goal, the people involved in the making of this movie did their job magnificently.

Having said that, it isn't for everyone. I saw this movie alone because I had a feeling my wife wouldn't be into it. It's tough to watch. However, in the midst of this recession brought on by greed and materialism, I think it's a movie that everyone of age SHOULD see in order to put things back into perspective, if only for a day.

I had a lump in my throat through most of the movie and was desperate to get home and hug my two boys through most of it as well. I also felt like downsizing our entire life in terms of the unnecessary "stuff" we have. I imagined how many homeless people wander the streets right now with that feeling of hopelessness and desperation. What more could I ask from a Saturday afternoon at the theater? It's this kind of movie that helps maintain a degree of integrity in the film industry among the inaneness that surrounds it.
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8/10
So Well Done I Wanted To Kill Myself
RichardSRussell-118 December 2009
The Road (1:50, R) — Science Fiction, 3rd string, original

Among the first words spoken in The Road (adapted from Cormac McCarthy's novel) are "It's just another earthquake.". That's supposed to be reassuring.

It's a bleak, devastated, post-apocalyptic world leached of everything: color, sounds, names, sunshine, warmth, joy, hope. Thru it trudge The Man (Viggo Mortenson) and The Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), slowly and painfully making their way to "the coast", where maybe things will be marginally better. Who can say? But what else is there?

Along the way they encounter The Gang Member (Garret Dillahunt, still as creepy and frightening as he was in The Sarah Connor Chronicles and The Last House on the Left), The Road Gang Leader (Brenna Roth), The Old Man (Robert Duvall), The Thief (Michael K. Williams), and The Veteran (Guy Pearce) and his woman (Molly Parker). In flashbacks to an achingly lost former life, we see The Wife (Charlize Theron).

And really, once you've named the names, you've pretty well covered the movie. The name of the game is Survival, tho none can say what the point of it is. The food is gone, and clearly no more will be growing. Humans are apparently the only animals to survive the unnamed global disaster, so they represent the sole remaining, rapidly dwindling source of protein. The voices you hear approaching are not the Red Cross.

Some choose not to play. The Wife, after some low-energy soul-searching, goes the ancient-Eskimo route. "She was gone," The Man remembers, "and the coldness of it was her final gift."

Others persevere for no cogent reason. "DId you ever wish you would die?", The Man asks. "No," The Old Man replies, "it's foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these."

The Man and The Boy have 1 gun with 2 bullets left; they are not being reserved for potential assailants. In some of the movie's most agonizing scenes, we see The Man explain not only what must be done but why.

I walked into this movie 10 hours after leaving the theater where Avatar splashed the screen with color, motion, activity, purpose, a 3rd dimension, and a superb sound track. It is difficult to imagine 2 more disparate films in terms of tone and atmosphere. But both are extremely effective at making their respective worlds seem completely real.

The movie is unremittingly grim and completely believable. It doesn't pull its punches or sell out. It will haunt you. It's unlikely that anyone else will ever make another movie that treats the end of the world so realistically, so if you want to see the standard against which all others will be compared, this is your chance.

Stay away if you're depressed or prone to it, and avoid razor blades for 12 hours afterward.
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9/10
A Miserable Journey Displayed Beautifully
winston910915 November 2009
With a surplus of post-apocalyptic/disaster flicks present in today's film circle, the Road does what very few films in any genre seem capable of doing. Here is a picture that in it's own discreteness captures the realism of a holocaust horror, combining the absolute worst possible future with the most profoundly beautiful human characteristics that keep the main characters persevering. Not only does the story accurately exhibit the polar opposite aspects of a post apocalyptic existence, but the cinematography used during the flashbacks of a life full of color and hope many take for granted, is excellently positioned with the dark, dismal, and often terrifying reality that is the Road. The score was also fantastic and perfectly appropriate for the film.

The only two, minor issues I had were the sound editing, (MINOR!) and the ending which was NOT at all a disappointment, but I felt it was quite open, without giving anything away. This is, again, a minor issue, for the story in itself was a journey, and we see only a small portion of the great, tragic, and ultimately fulfilling struggle.

And, though I'm sure no more attention is necessary, the acting as a whole was phenomenal. Each film since LOTR Viggo has greatly improved and I'd like to think of this as the beginning of his finest hour. Very few performances touch me emotionally, and his was certainly one of them, in three scenes in particular which were, being discrete, (the parting flashback, the dinner, and the climax.) Well done, the Road, thank you Mr. Mortenson.
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8/10
Loved the book... Loved the Movie
Bart_OP1 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"It's not as good as the book." seems to be one of the most common sentences in discussions about movies. I have certainly uttered it many times. I try to judge a film on it's own merits as a separate art form, but cannot help the comparison, especially when elements that I love in a book are sacrificed in the translation to the screen (especially if I felt the changes were made in service of some 2 hour "time limit"). I can only remember one time that I thought a movie improved on a book (The Godfather and the Godfather Part 2.) There are certainly many times I felt that a mediocre book served as the basis for a mediocre movie (The DaVinci Code). Cormac McCarthy's works have generally translated well to the screen, especially No Country for Old Men. The Road was one of the most wonderful books that I can remember - to create a sense of hope against an overwhelmingly dismal post-apocalyptic backdrop is no small feat. As I read it I found myself sympathizing with the fears and frustrations for the man and, at the same time, completely drawn into the innocence and wisdom of the boy. I could not put the book down - I had to know the ending of this story.

As I sat watching the movie, I was right back in the book. John Hillcoat and Joe Penhall's collaboration made for a marvelous adaptation of this compelling story. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee were outstanding. The film editing and art direction in this picture really contribute to the overall post-apocalyptic feel. The use of color in the otherwise gray backdrop was pure film-making genius. I was dragged to the height and depths of emotions and felt every anguish and small triumph experienced by the on-screen duo. In the end, I experienced both the triumph and the uncertainty of the human condition. And felt that I had seen a movie that was as good as the book.
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7/10
Carry the Fire
ferguson-628 November 2009
Greetings again from the darkness. The most recent adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel brought us the fantastic No Country for Old Men (Coen Bros.). McCarthy's post-apocalyptic The Road did not seem to set up well as filmed entertainment. Director John Hillcoat proves otherwise.

Make no mistake. This film is as bleak and filled with despair as any you have ever seen. This is not the SFX of fluff like 2012. This is the humanistic side of desperation and survival in a world where what little has survived seems grotesque and evil.

It is a phenomenal movie from a technical aspect, yet a higher rating seems off the mark, as so very few movie goers will find the entertainment value of such an achievement. While viewing, one can't help but weigh the ever-present option of suicide. What would we do in this situation? Do you continue to carry the fire or do you ask, what's the point, and hit the eject trigger? If you thought Charlize Theron was unappealing in Monster, you will find her absolutely intolerable here. Her beauty is overridden by her angst and unwillingness to continue the fight for her survival. Is she the rational one or totally selfish? Really good question.

The vast majority of the film is Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee on their quest for the coast ... their ultimate goal for survival. The gray and lifeless landscape would (and does)suck the hope and soul right out of most. Viggo keeps trudging while teaching his young, more sensitive son, who by the way, is a dead ringer for Charlize (were she a 12 year old boy). The grayness of the film is so intense, that the dream/flashback sequences couldn't help but make me wonder if life were black and white, would dreams be vivid and colorful? Fans of No Country for Old Men will catch a glimpse of Garret Dillahunt as the hillbilly gang member who stumbles upon the Father and Son - Dillahunt was Tommy Lee Jones' entertaining deputy. Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce also have brief, but welcome, supporting roles. Duvall actually does quite a bit with his limited lines.

While it seems odd to release this one at Thanksgiving - it's not in the tradition of mass-appeal holiday fare, it is a must see for any true film lover or literature addict. To see the gray and stillness become as overwhelming as what is usually limited to one's imagination is worth the effort.
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9/10
Above Expectations
Hint52326 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I really have got to get used to reviewing adaptations of books, because they come out all the time. But reviewing them is so much different it almost doesn't seem fair. A movie like Watchmen would have seemed completely different had I not read the book. It just changes the playing field completely and usually not in a good way. However, it's not going away anytime soon.

Let me start by saying how I came across the book "The Road", by Cormac McCarthy. It was about two years ago this time, and I was talking to my dorm parent about Children of Men, a movie that was so clearly well made and excellent, but I was left frustrated with it. Without giving too much away, Children of Men left me with no closure because the entire purpose of the movie seemed to be finding the cure, and the movie ends before they find it. In other words, it left too much unsaid, and for that, storyline alone, I gave it a 4/10. My dorm parent mentioned that if I didn't like Children of Men I probably wouldn't like The Road, because it gives you absolutely no information about what happened, it just tells you a story of a father and a son traveling in a post-apocalyptic world. Intrigued, and being a fan of Cormac McCarthy, I bought the book at the airport and on my way home for Thanksgiving, read the entire book. I really couldn't have imagined reading it any other way. Because the book has no chapters, and because it is so engaging, you have to read it in one sitting.

A movie was inevitable from such a great story, especially hot off of No Country For Old Men's success. And the road (haha) to this movie's release has been long and slow. It got delayed a whole year, which made me apprehensive as to how good a film it was. So as I entered the movie theater last night, almost two years to the date since I read the book, I was nervous. Would this be another I Am Legend? Or would this capture the greatness of the book?

The plot of the film and the movie are the same: a father and a son are some of the last remaining people on earth after an unexplained tragedy has happened. The two are just trying to survive, by heading south. Along the way they encounter many problems, but the heart of the story is in the relationship between the two characters, and the plot is minimal.

Director John Hillcoat's last film, The Proposition, was an attempt to revive the dead genre of the Western. And it was brilliant in so many ways, but I especially liked how the setting was displayed in the film. You can taste the nasty feeling of 1850 Australia in The Proposition. And that's why he's a great fit for The Road, because he brings us into a setting very well. And in The Road he does this again, maybe not as well, but considering he has no source material other than the novel, he does a very good job at conveying this dead world. I enjoyed seeing all of the eclectic images of destruction he brought to this film. Images from the Yellowstone fire, Mount Saint Helens, and Hurricane Katrina were compiled together to create this world, as well as some decent special effects. My favorite image from the film is when the go on an overpass. The overpass stuck with me.

The acting of the two leads is superb. Viggo Mortensen continues to impress me as a fantastic actor. When I was reading the book I imagined him as Djimon Hounsou, but Mortensen encompasses the character extremely well. Newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee is just as good, and together they carry the entire film on their shoulders, and they do it effortlessly. My only complaint with the film is that because there is no driving plot, my guess is it could become tedious and hard to follow if you didn't read the book. Overall the fear and the relationship moved the story enough to keep me interested, but I can see how a lack of structure could be tedious to some.

The tone and art direction are spot on, the acting is excellent, the story is a perfect adaptation of the book, but it isn't a groundbreaking film. The Road is as good as adaptations get, one of the best I have ever seen. It wasn't a white-knuckle film the way No Country was, nor was it nearly as well directed. But, it's a riveting and engaging film, and it's a fantastic story of two characters. In the end, that's enough of a reason for it to be a great movie. As for my expectations: it blew me away. Despite a delay and a bad trailer, The Road is an impressive film. My Rating: 9/10
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9/10
I don't want to just survive … The Road
jaredmobarak22 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Despite a trailer that was cut to bring in disaster film audiences, Bobby was safe from my wrath because it appeared his brother and he let Hillcoat's vision stick, creating one of the best films of the year thus far. Please do not take the preview as gospel, because it does a terrible job marketing the movie. This is an independent production with very dark tones—one scene with a basement full of people held captive, thin and missing limbs, as food storage for the monsters living above is just one example—as well as a riveting story dealing with life, death, family, and sacrifice. The make of a father is tested when the world is at an end. If it is between putting a bullet into the head of your child rather than allow him to be eaten, one must come to grips with mortality and pride. If the world around you is disappearing, burning, becoming a land of criminals, is it good enough to just survive? When you get away from whatever trouble is in your backyard, is it enough when you just have to continue running with a new test awaiting you? There is no safe haven; no piece of earth hidden from the horrors that have taken over … to live is to run.

Don't be surprised when the big names you heard were in the film don't appear until late or show up for very brief stints when they do. Some are seen only in flashbacks, others are blips on the radar as "The Man" and his "Son" journey, day by day, to live for the next. The Road is all about Viggo and young Kodi Smit-McPhee, (who is great—many are hailing him as a revelation, but I think time will tell on that one), as they come across allies as well as their share of villains too. Small roles notwithstanding, both Garret Dillahunt, as a hick trucker looking for red meat of any kind, and Robert Duvall, as an old vagabond trying to mind his own business in the wasteland, are outstanding. Especially Duvall, who I'll admit has been phoning in some performances of late with too much gravitas. His "Old Man"—can you sense a theme with the character names—is subtle and real, wrinkles and crags making up his face, dirt and grime coating it all. Hillcoat knows how to let an environment consume his viewers, leaving nothing to be pretty for pretty's sake. Like his Australian western of two years ago, the lack of showers and clean, running water is noticeable throughout.

There aren't any explosions or big time battles between good and evil; all those shots of news footage used in the trailer as though our central family watched them on television do not exist. One day a husband and his pregnant wife were enjoying their lives when disaster struck. It doesn't matter what the cause was or where it started, all we need to be aware of is that the destruction was all encompassing, worldwide, and unstoppable. The morality of letting a child be born into a life of fear and death becomes an early theme, the birth of Smit-McPhee's character a question mark in his first days. Going through so much for that son, Mortensen lives for nothing else, his own life expendable as long as when he goes he knows the boy has a chance. What chance that is, no one knows. The next day could bring the discovery of a hidden bunker full of non-perishables; it could bring a loner vagrant passing by while they sleep to steal all they have accumulated; or it could mean seeing the enemy over the hills, on the verge of discovering them, causing their lives' worth to be left in favor of a rapid getaway. The real beauty of the film is how it never lulls or takes a shortcut. You will be on the edge of your seat for the duration, waiting to see when the moment will come that they can't get away.

A story of hope, it is also one of hardship and sacrifice. Some risk everything for another; some risk themselves in order to survive. When the choice becomes finding a man to eat or take from an unsuspecting child, sometimes you have to do the lesser of two evils no matter how much of your soul it takes with it. Mortensen embodies these sentiments, but so do others along the way. I must mention Michael K. Williams as "The Thief", a man so lost on his own journey of survival that he just can't help himself. You know that he is a man of honor and kindness that had no choice, but then you must think of the fact that he did, he could have allowed himself to die rather than take from innocents. But that's the rub, no one is innocent, not even "The Boy" as evidenced when Smit-McPhee yells at his father to say that he also must face what's going on each day. Viggo isn't shielding him from the terrors around every corner; just because he is young doesn't mean he hasn't grown up quick; it's all he could do to stay sane and move along with all the pains of his past and knowledge of those still to come. It's a tough watch, but well worth the time and effort to see a true masterpiece of tone and humanity—the good parts and the bad.
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1/10
Tolkien was right, The Road goes ever on... and on... and on... and on...
themightyservo25 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
CONTAINS LOTS OF SPOILERS. But it's difficult to spoil a movie that's already rotten.

I picked up The Road hoping for some kind of bleak, postapocalyptic examination of the human condition. Maybe some kind of depth.

What did I get? A couple of whiny crybabies who never should've survived the doomsday even to begin with. I got a movie that masquerades as deep, and even convinces some people it is. And it's looooooooooong and by failures that disengage you from the characters, also boring.

Since it was post-apocalyptic, it delivered on the bleak, but to the point of disbelief. And it had Deliverance-style cannibals, complete with trucker hats. Why? Because it's a cheap way to make people dislike the villains. No, these aren't savage people who've resorted to cannibalism, in Hollywood's opinion, that's pretty much what everyone with a southern accent is like already. So they're just hicks with a big diesel truck who eat people. But Hollywood wasn't content with just ripping on poor white folks, as THE black guy in the movie is a thief whose dialog sounds positively antebellum. Our "hero" is a whiny man child who plays the piano and couldn't run his own household.

The main characters have random, unexplained motivations. Charlize Theron walks out "because she has to", the kid goes chasing down a boy he maybe sees "because he has to", and characters frequently do things for no apparent reason, with no rational motivation. And Viggo, intent on living, lets Charlize go running off to die why? Uh... because he has to?

Why shoot someone who's obviously a fellow traveler and not a cannibal? No reason. Why run away from a sealed, hidden bunker that's escaped detection for 10 years? No reason. Why always take the main roads and make yourself a target? No reason.

Why do the main characters, being chased by NASCAR cannibals, decide to light a bonfire everywhere they stop? With the sun and stars and moon obscured by bleak clouds 24/7, what would possess them to light a huge, highly visible fire every night? When they stumble on the cannibal captives, do they release the victims so as to make cover for their own escape, or possibly stop the cannibals? Nope. They seal 'em back up in the basement, and hang around outside to listen to them being eaten.

The kid falls over more than a bimbo in a horror flick, and has to be carried more than the luggage does (which looks a lot like Princess Vespa's luggage from Spaceballs). Despite an abundance of water, everyone's forgotten how to bathe, groom, or clothe themselves. Why? Meanwhile Viggo goes swimming like it's a Bond film. The film says it's gotten so cold out, yet the characters repeatedly expose themselves to hypothermia via swimming. Why again? Does the movie make any sense? Sure, if you're pretentious and can lie to yourself. Do the characters' motivations make any sense. No.

Why did they spend years in the cabin rather than go south to begin with? Not explained. Why does Charlize wander off to die? Because. Despite the lack of fuel, there seems to be forests of it standing around - did humans just forget how the steam engine works? Apparently.

The visuals are suitably bleak, but grow tiresome and obnoxious. There's just no point. For all the weak attempts at moralizing random things, it's as pretentious as the Matrix sequels, but there's no enjoyment to be had here.

The nonspecific doomsday isn't a big hangup. It just sets the stage for the morality play. But there isn't one to be found here. It really is a dull, plodding, slow, pointless film. The numerous bonehead moves the characters make - almost all due to bad writing - separate the audience from the characters and rather quickly, and thus there's no reason to care. There's only hope that the next scene offers something of interest in the setting. Even with a lot of use of fastforward, it still drags.

You'd be better off watching The Postman, Mad Max, or A Boy And His Dog. Waterworld is gills and shoulders above this pretentious turkey. Heck, even Robot Holocaust and Defcon 4 were better than The Road.

Or better yet, go read Orson Scott Card's "The Folk of the Fringe", for a good postapocalyptic journey/pilgrimage book.
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10/10
Outstanding Adaptation
J_Trex25 November 2009
I read Cormac McCarthy's novel a few years ago & figured it would be made into a movie (this was when "No Country for Old Men" was playing) but I wondered how they could make this extremely grim tale into something that people would want to see.

This film was every bit as grim as the novel and it seemed to be a faithful adaptation of it. The characters seemed more believable in the film than in the novel. This is probably due to the medium but Viggio Mortenson did a fabulous job as the Protagonist (the unnamed father) and his son was also great. They both were tremendous and brought a lot of character development and engagement to an otherwise totally bleak story.

I loved Robert Duvall's turn as the grizzled survivor. It was a supporting role sure to win an Oscar nomination. I think this will win more than its share of Oscar nominations, for Viggio at the very least.

Great film, go check it out.
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6/10
It's the little things... ***SPOILERS***
nudain12 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
****SPOILERS GALORE**** I've just finished watching the road, and I'm more than a little disappointed. Leaving aside the finger-pointing re-write ending, what I missed most were the little things, the small exchanges between the man and the boy, the coke can sequence being the most obvious. In the novel, one of the most poignant lines comes from the boy as he tries to share the can with the man, who initially refuses to partake. The boy says something along the lines of 'It's because I won't ever get to drink another one, isn't it?' In that one sentence McCarthy sums up that gap between what the man knows he has lost and what the boy has never experienced, but is slowly coming to realise once existed; a better, 'road'-less world.

I also lament the omission of those little examples of the mans resourcefulness, examples of how this terrifying new world has shaped and honed his senses; from the finding of the morels, the apples, the residual oil, his whittling of bullets from wood, his jerry-rigging the gas burner so they can take it on the road, his penny-drop moment which leads to the discovery of the flare gun. Even the nagging feeling that leads to his discovering the hidden trove of food and supplies was brushed over a barely noticeable 'Wait, what was that I just stepped on?' moment. We never know what the man did in his previous life before this tragedy struck, but from the novel we get the feeling (or at least I do) that he's probably a well-educated, white collar guy who's had to step up to the plate in order to ensure his and his families survival.

I can't go without mentioning the thief sequence. In the novel the thief didn't spare the boy, he came upon their things off-page. In the film he's portrayed much more (sym)pathetically and one is almost compelled to side against the man; after all, the thief didn't kill or try to eat the boy like almost everyone else we've encountered so far; he might be a 'good guy', surely the punishment meted out to him was too harsh.

This theme is further hammered home in the ending, where it's made clear to us that the dog (and the rest of them) are the same group who were heard above while the man and the boy were in the bunker / shelter. Indeed, the second boy is the same boy glimpsed early in the proceedings, though the window of a dilapidated building. If only the man had listened to the boy on those two occasions and trusted that the others might be 'good guys' then maybe he wouldn't have had to die, and ultimately, fail his son. None of this is in the novel, McCarthys theme is much more subtle than that, it's closer to 'what are the implications of maintaining your sense of morality when everyone else around you has forsaken theirs'. In the end, the mans love for his son is such that he can't bring himself to kill him, even though he knows that his son will most likely suffer a shockingly brutal death, but such is his love he can't bring himself to do it. He's fated to be the ultimate good guy, no matter the cost.

In closing, as much as I hate to be one of those people, I must recommend the novel over the movie. If this film made you stop and think even just a little bit, and you've not read the novel, then you really should.
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3/10
What a disappointment!
sc_taylor19 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Just went to see "The Road" (I had been really looking forward to it as I am a fan of Mr Mortensen).

What a disappointment! From the first minutes I thought to myself 'with all this bleakness it's going to be jolly hard to keep the interest going'. Well, quite! I was bored after half an hour. I found that try as I might, I just couldn't seem to care for either of them, or what happened to them. But the worst of it is that it has more holes than a colander! Indulge me while I list but a few;

How on earth does the boy manage to look so healthy and perfect when all they have to live on is a couple of locusts a week? His skin would be sallow, his teeth would be brown, his hair lank etc etc.

How come the height marks on the door in Viggo's childhood home are still there 40 years later? Has no one ever decorated the place since?

How do they manage to find a bomb shelter, unlocked and barely concealed which just happens to be stock full of food and nice clean bedding when there have been gangs of violent men on the prowl for years taking every last crumb?

Why on Earth do they leave the aforementioned well stocked bomb shelter heading right out into the danger they believe they hear outside, instead of battening down the hatches and staying in the comfort and plentiful food? Absolutely crazy!

How on earth when they suddenly binge on all the goodies do they not vomit it straight back up? After all they are presumably suffering from moderate to severe starvation!

But how on Earth have they survived that long, on practically nothing? The boy was born when the apocalypse had already started and is about 8 or 9 years old!

When the boy catches an infection and gets a fever, how does he "just recover" from it? He would be badly malnourished and could well die of such an illness. At the very least he would be seriously ill for a long time.

The whole thing is just a series of badly thought through, lazy vignettes and set pieces on which to hang some semi-profound cloth-eared metaphysics and father-son bonding, survival through love, blah di blah.

And that ending is just cheese city! Not only is it absurdly 'convenient' that at the very moment his dad dies, the only decent people in the entire film suddenly turn up, as if by magic, to rescue him. But the final shot virtually has the bloody dog smiling! It's like some happy families, Kodak moment.

Deary me! I just couldn't wait for it to end!
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1/10
Ridiculous story with basically 3 scenes on endless repeat.
CineCritic251728 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Road, a story about a journey undertaken by a father and his 11 year old son on a post- apocalyptic Earth. It seems that everything living has died due to some catastrophe except for some unfortunate human beings who wander the land and cities in search of the last can of coke or anything else that will pass for food. Even humans will do. Our two protagonists are making their way to the coast, why? No one knows or seems to care to tell the audience. Dad and the annoying little brat, who looks far too healthy to pass for an undernourished lad, sleep in abandoned cars and houses while they try to steer clear from fellow human survivors. This strategy oddly fails to work at all as they seem to be running into those fellow humans with almost clockwork precision. This despite the fact that almost everyone on the planet died. Between these scenes where they go to some place and then get scared away from it, the boy asks the father questions like: "Are we the good guys daddy?" at which point the father explains that they are, ad nauseam.

And that's basically it. That is really all that will be repeated throughout the entirety of the film. No deeper thoughts on the meaning of life, no interesting philosophies, no mentionable plot turns, just this same vacuous scene over and over again until they make it to the coast. The father dies and the kid is taken in by a surviving family who very conveniently wandered by at that very moment. The End.

I really don't know, but shouldn't there be some entertainment value to a film? Some sense of momentum or an interesting point to make. Maybe I've seen too many films in my life, but when the credits finally rolled I spontaneously burst out in laughter at the silliness and pointlessness of it all.

4 out of 10 for the fine cinematography and acting by Viggo Mortensen.
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1/10
Just another test of how much nonsense one can swallow
ekwadorekwador1 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Cannibals feeding on people being fed on... Right, on what? On pineapple cans left here and there? Yeah. No other predators left except for men? Of course, we ate all of them or they died of starvation. But we didn't. We are special. And well-preserved dry plants everywhere several years after they had died? This one I found especially amusing. It normally takes about a year for dry grass or fallen leaves to decompose, still throughout the movie we can see tons of them everywhere several years after they had all dried out. Say nothing about the complete lack of fungi, insects (well, there was ONE beetle) and other detritivores. The post-apocalypse world should be a paradise for them, shouldn't it?

So what type of apocalypse was it? It looks that even the screenplay author lacked the idea of how to reasonably explain it. A meteorite collision? Some enormous fire? Thisis the kind of information we get at the beginning. But can we see any aftermath like burned-out forests for example? Nope. Just the grey, barren world. And why for god sake all cars and trucks are always left in mess in the middle of the road? What stopped people who nevertheless survived the disaster from parking them properly? Just to mention a few things from many.

Add to this annoyingly illogical behaviour of the main characters. Leaving a safe shelter full of food for certain misery and slow agony because they heard some noise outside? Sure. 10 years old kid constantly behaving as if he was born the day before? Because he apparently doesn't understand the world around him. His traumatic father who does all to protect him (isn't it what this movie is about?) but who still takes him to every house, cellar and other potential trap he scavenges. And my personal best - the coke still drinkable after several years in a broken fridge. If this is what the product placement people wanted me to believe, I will quit drinking it straight away.

So what shall I hold to? No real story, lack of elementary logic, no psychological layer that I can believe in. I know there's always some kind of agreement between the makers of any sci-fi movie and the audience: "We create the world and you have to take it the way it is". But how much crap can we swallow at the time?

In short: another teary movie about nothing. A complete waste of time considering how entertaining or thought-provoking it is. Even if you have two hours of your life to spare for nothing, like being on a plane with no other movie around to watch, you better take a nap.
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"The Road" a Fresh Approach to Tired Post-Apocalyptic Genre
MovieNut23719 November 2009
By Zach Copeland "The Road" Takes Fresh Approach to Post-Apocalyptic Genre Ever since God flooded out the entire human race in the early pages of Genesis, literature has abounded with stories of the apocalypse. For generation after generation, from The Book of Revelations to The Stand, we have obsessed over the end of the world, how it will come to pass, and what, if anything, we can do to stop it. Now that humankind has reached a point where the End could conceivably happen in an afternoon, our glimpses into this theoretical future are all the more intriguing. And they've never been more important.

The Road, directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition) and based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men), is a dark, poignant story of a father and son journeying through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, withstanding harsh weather, malnutrition, and under the constant threat of marauders, thieves and cannibals. Their goal is simple: to carry on.

Those looking to sink their teeth into mindless disaster-porn (not that there's anything wrong with that) can get their fix elsewhere. The Road is a smaller, more penetrating film that draws strength from its intimacy and its ability to do so much with so little.

Viggo Mortensen gives an emotional tour de force as the embattled father; look for him on the red carpet come March. Watching children act is oftentimes painful for me, but I thought Kodi Smit-McPhee was impressive and genuine as the son, and takes on the task of being in literally every scene with rare fearlessness. Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, and Guy Pearce give small but highly memorable performances, Duvall in particular, whose portrayal of a withered old man journeying all alone will haunt you.

The desolate environment in which the story takes place is itself a character, foreign yet eerily familiar, and so perfectly conceptualized that it matches – heck, surpasses the standard of realism set by films such as 28 Days Later and Children of Men. Shot throughout four states, including at the site of the Mount St. Helens eruption, Hillcoat and cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (The Others, The Sea Inside) paint a backdrop that is altogether beautiful and devastating.

They say that every generation since the dawn of man has feared the End, and while this may be true, not every generation has seen what our modern technology is capable of. The Road is a dark looking glass into our future, and what it is likely to become if our primal nature is left unchecked.

Early in the film, the son looks at his father and asks him, "We're the good guys, right?" The father's response is in the affirmative, but as their situation become increasingly desperate, that sense of morality we think to be ingrained is put to the test. Hillcoat does a masterful job of portraying human beings as what we are and always have been. He holds up a mirror to the world and hypnotizes you with it.

As far as post-apocalyptic movies go, The Road is hands-down one of the best ever made. Despite its raw, gritty facade, which will understandably be a turn-off for many theatergoers, the story underneath has a sense of serenity that everyone can relate to.

The Road opens everywhere on November 25. Need I say more? *The Film Crusade* www.filmcrusade.com/survive-and-advance/
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2/10
A ridiculous film
julianj-115 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I read the book. I didn't find it particularly good, and I've read a lot of post apocalypse SF. These fall into two categories: "realistic" attempts to examine behaviour in the aftermath of some catastrophe. The most recent one I would recommend is Octavia S Butler's Parable of the Sower.

The second category is nihilistic despairing romance. Anna Kavan's Ice - where the world is smothered in ice - and some early Ballard are in this category. So is The Road (book and film.

The Road is basically ridiculous. Neutron Bombing? Nuclear Winter? Giant Asteroid hit? Plague? Humanity eaten by Giant Mutant Pink Ants? The author doesn't tell us because he simply hasn't thought it through. Unlike most regular hard sf apocalypse writers who usually work our their premises carefully You can pick out the sheer silliness of it all yourself but I just put out a few pointers: 99%+ of the population has died in 10 years but they don't have clothes to wear or a decent tent.

Only two rounds of ammo? Just so the author can set up a fake dilemma.

Farming Humans for Cannibalism? If you have food to feed humans, you would eat it yourself, rather than loose calories.

Leaving the bunker - the height of stupidity. Wait out and try to rebuild. And one presumes that the people who set it up would have a) stocked it with weapons and ammo b) medical supplies. So when the Dolt (we can't really call him a Man) gets shot with an arrow he should have had antibiotics etc so he wouldn't die.

Medical supplies: ditto the Ship. Question - why does he swim back - are there no life rafts or lifeboats left on the Ship? You could carry a lot more supplies safely.

Maddened brigands and bandits: this comes to the heart of the matter, even bandits are likely to negotiate first. They can't afford wounds, loss of members, and may even want to recruit more people into their gang. Safety in numbers.

It's just ridiculous that there is no government at all surviving, or people banding together for skill sharing and mutual defence.

Why would the nuclear family with the dog accept a lone boy into their group? Unless he had skills that were useful he's just a worthless mouth to feed? If you have read anything about people surviving in adversity, without having a rose-tinted view of humanity, The Road is hokum.
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6/10
OK so we reached the ocean...now what?
darin-wissbaum31 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This was a very dark, gloomy and depressing film in which you wished in just one scene that the darn sun would shine. I spent a lot of my time squinting at the screen trying to make sense of what was going on. The story centers around two characters. Viggo Mortenson as the Father and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the Son who are forced into survival in a Earth now destroyed by man's greed and global warming has killed most life except for as it is explained in the film two different types of peoples....The good people and the bad ones which do nothing but resort to cannibalism. After we see flash backs of the Mother telling the father that he needs to see to it that he gets their son to the sea in the South because she has no more of a desire to go on living, and in a very moving scene we see The Father pleading with her to just spend one more night with him before she walks off and dies. She does not and walks off into the darkness. The rest of the film has the Father and Son fighting their way through burned out cities and across a barren landscape in which it rains almost every day. They fight for survival from what appears to be red-necks who eat human flesh and keep warm humans locked up in basements to be eaten later. The Father Manages to escape death several times and save his son with nothing more than his wits and a pistol with only 2 rounds in which only 1 is ever used.

They finally do reach the sea, which was the point that was pressed throughout the film but nothing happens once they are there. The last 20 minutes The Son spends on the beach watching The Father die. Before his death he tells The Son to keep going south. After The Fathers death The Son finds a good family while on the beach, which included a man, woman, little boy, girl and a dog. So was this the meaning for The Father to get his little boy to the ocean? To find a nice family living on the beach? This all seemed too simple an ending for a story that was pretty complex about survival in a world in which survival was everything. But as with all Hollywood films the ending had to be happy seeing how gloomy it was up to that point. It just seemed too good an ending....
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1/10
Don't waste your time watching this lemon
dbk-923-25298416 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The striking thing about this crappy film is that some viewers give it more than a 1/10 rating. It simply is mind-boggling! The only possible explanation is that such reviews were written by staff of the film studio or highly depressed viewers who felt less depressed after watching this lemon.

Let's be objective here. The acting was crap, out of touch with the story and terribly contrived. The score was bad. The images were poorly shot, using bad angles and close-up views of what should have been filmed from a distance to give the audience a feel for the desolation.

The story itself is totally unrealistic. For example:

1/ An armed group has one of theirs shot and don't even go after the father and son, despite the fact that it's daylight, they carry rifles, the father is slowed down by having to carry his son, the group is obviously starving and out there on a hunting mission. This could never happen in real life.

2/ The house where the human herd is held by cannibals is left unwatched. Since the keepers feel starved enough to eat human flesh, one would think that their prisoners constitute their most precious item. So why would they leave them alone for someone to find and possibly help to escape? Simply unbelievable.

3/ Father and son find a stash of canned food which happens to be still good for consumption after... 11 years, according to the story. Has anyone seen a can of food left in a damp place like a cellar after ten years? Well, the author of the book obviously hasn't. I'm surprised that father and son lasted more than a few hours after eating the stuff.

4/ The old man played by Duvall is nearly blind, can barely get off the ground by himself, can't obviously run, and has managed to survive despite roaming baddies, cannibals, etc? Come on, what are the odds of that possibly happening?

5/ Father and son travel that long road without ever running into a trap, not even once? Say you're an armed group starving and out there looking for prey, wouldn't the first thing coming to mind be to set a trap for some isolated travelers?

6/ You're in charge of a young boy and living in a dangerous environment. Would you look for an isolated place to weather the storm, surviving on roots and hiding from predators, or would you undertake a senseless trip to the ocean in freezing conditions?

I can appreciate some comments that claim a good adaptation from the book but... a good adaptation of a crappy and unrealistic story doesn't make a good film now, does it?

In keeping an objective and unemotional outlook, which should be the most important guideline for anyone writing a review, I simply cannot understand why anyone would recommend watching that film or even find anything good to say about it. Granted, the subject matter is interesting, I won't argue that, but it could have been handled much better in both the book and the film.

I must agree with all those who branded it a pure waste of time, they are absolutely right. This is a bad film on all accounts. As to those who mentioned possible Oscar nominations or spoke of the best film of its year, I'm sorry to say that they're completely off the mark, as much as someone claiming that McDonald's deserves 5 stars on the Michelin guide.

My advice if someone suggests taking you to watch "the road": run!
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1/10
Depressing and pointless (which I suppose is the point, but)
missnobody71712 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When my husband and I went to see this movie, we chose it purely because a) it wasn't one of the ridiculous movies already out, and b) it got a good rating on Rotten Tomatoes. At the snack counter, a poster proclaimed, "One of the most uplifting and optimistic movies of the year!"

After watching that movie, we concluded that the poster reviewer either was completely high, wandered into the wrong theater by mistake, or thinks that Schindler's List was a wacky comedy. The Road has to be one of the most depressing, pointless, excruciating movies you could ever see. It will make you want to go home and stick your head in the oven.

The first 7 hours of the movie contain an endless slog through a desolate landscape bereft of plant and animal life. Only bugs and humans remain, somehow. Everything else on Earth has been burnt or smashed by some unacknowledged Doomsday Event. The director leaves it up to the audience to somehow figure out what kind of reasonable scientific explanation could account for anyone surviving for any amount of time after all the oxygen-producing plant life plus everything else in the food chain between bugs and people bit the dust. Apparently it happens through the magic of Dole Pineapple Chunks, the search for which takes up another 4 hours of movie.

Once you get inured to this laugh riot, you eventually start to disassociate from the main characters. The Boy in the book is supposed to be 6 or 7. In the movie, though, he looks to be about 10 or 11, but seems to still act 6 or 7. He comes across as a total feeb and you start to wonder how a kid born on the cusp of a complete apocalypse manages to have such poor coping skills. The Kid was supposed to have been running into dead bodies and cannibals practically every day of his life so you'd think he'd be over it after 9-10 years, but no, he manages to seem traumatized at every instance.

Dad doesn't help things out much as he spends his days talking to the kid like he's three and tucking him in and carrying him around every chance he gets. I'm sure that'll help grow hair on his chest, Dad! It's nice to see that no matter how shitty the world gets, there's always a parent willing to overshelter their kid from the reality of their situation.

Dad also seems to make poor survival decisions. The poorest decision comes when the two find a friggin' BOMB SHELTER FILLED WITH FOOD AND WARM BEDS, but after a couple days they need to abandon it because they heard somebody walking around up top. Apparently this is the only bomb shelter in existence that didn't come with a lock on the hatch, and everyone knows how easy it is for a starving bum to breach a cement bunker with a steel trap door on it. It's much easier to pile a bunch of crap in an old push wagon and hit the road again to defend it in the open air against every marauder and sneak thief that walks by, while you slowly die from exposure.

But one can't point fingers at such glaring plot holes, because This Is Such A Serious, Award-Winning Oscar Contender! You can tell this movie is an Oscar contender because the kid cries real tears and there are at least a couple scenes where the audience gets treated to a rear view of Viggo's naked ass and nutsack. Everyone knows that if Viggo is letting you see his junk, he's very much into his role and you should respect his process by taking his nuts very seriously like he does.

There's a scene somewhere in the middle where The Mom (Charlize Theron) decides to end it by walking out into the freezing winter in her sleep shirt to die in the woods, because she can't take it anymore. By the end of the movie, you'll be wishing you'd walked out in the middle too.

There was one very uplifting part to our experience, though: After leaving the theater, my husband found a five dollar bill on the ground. That cheered us up immensely. There is life after this movie!
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1/10
"Do you have the fire?" "um....no"
jessicaknight231 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
***Spoilers up in here****** This movie should have only been 2 minutes long; it should have started and ended with the whole family blowing each other's brains out. I consider myself a deep thinker and love a good post-apocalyptic movie so I was excited to see this but I was left in awe with the utter bleak pointlessness of this one. There is no real plot or storyline, unlikeable, undeveloped characters and the story left nothing to ponder except: if you were starving and the world was essentially just "over" would you start munching on the other survivors or kill yourself? I would just go ahead and off myself but I can assure you I would not have done it the way Ms. Theron did (wandering in the dark to death.)

How did the world come to be 100% dead of vegetation, wildlife and almost all of humankind in such a short period of time? One might make the argument that this movie is not about the actual science of the apocalypse but rather that it's about human nature and human relationships, unfortunately there are only two characters in the movie and it's pretty basic, a father is caring for his crybaby son. I believe the author's inability to explain the world in which his boring characters live in can be attributed to lack or creativity or laziness. There was no creativity or even anything remotely resembling beauty in this tale. The cannibals were called "the bad guys" and the non-cannibals were the "good guys", "Hope" was called "the fire", and the main characters were "papa" and "son."

And the ending was just embarrassing.
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8/10
The Bleak Tone Is Both A Strength And A Weakness
Theo Robertson24 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 2006 novel THE ROAD opened to rave reviews . Despite these reviews from professional critics it only received a limited release and fared very poorly . The brief glimpses I'd seen from via clips and trailers had cinematography that leapt out and grabbed me and I was puzzled as to why it didn't do better at both the box office and award ceremonies . After seeing the film in full it's perhaps understandable why THE ROAD didn't do better . Australian director John Hillcoat has crafted an impressive but utterly bleak and depressing movie where mankind is headed for extinction and considering a large amount of survivors have resorted to cannibalism one can't help thinking the human race won't be missed . Make no mistake this isn't the comic book capers of MAD MAX , nor is it feelgood post apocalypse cinema along the lines of the more successful THE BOOK OF ELI , or the wish fulfillment cosy catastrophe 1970s BBC drama SURVIVORS . This is nihilistic speculative fiction that American cinema ignores similar in tone to John Christopher

Apart from the unrelentingly depressing tone some people might be put off by the lack of explanation to the story . The inciting incident of the apocalypse is never explained but it's easy to join up the dots that it was either caused by a Super-volcano or an asteroid strike leading to a nuclear winter effect . Why are people kept in a cellar ? You know why even though you don't like to think about . Sadly there's not enough explanation in other areas such as why is the father so bent on trekking across a desolate landscape to the Ocean ? And whatever his motives why has it taken him several years to come up with this plan ? As with most type of stories in this genre it's never explained what the protagonists have done to survive in this time frame lasting several years . Obviously the bad guys survived by eating other people but what the father , mother and son survive on during this time ? Everything starts collapsing from a logic point of view when you start dissecting the story

Viggo Mortensen is the actor equivalent of cinematographer Roger Deakins . He's always impressive but since making his big breakthrough in LORD OF THE RINGS award ceremonies constantly ignore him . THE ROAD is the type of film that is carried by its lead actor and this film sees Mortensen give his all time best performance that was criminally overlooked at the Oscars but again you can perhaps understand why nominations for Best Actor , Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography weren't seriously considered . Oscar awards are usually given out to triumph of the human spirit feelgood type movies and THE ROAD is on a one way track to the extinction of our species

And that's the fundamental problem with THE ROAD . It's not so much a problem because it is truly memorable , contains superb technical aspects and it's a film that makes its audience think . Unfortunately you'll be left thinking how lucky we are to live in a world of civilization and how quickly this might all fall apart . I was totally compelled and involved in this movie but I'm in no hurry to watch it again . In many ways it resembles the BBC nuclear holocaust docudrama THREADS from 1984 which seared itself in to the memory of the generation who watched it . THE ROAD will have the same effect
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6/10
I managed to see both sides of the coin, but this truly is a marmite movie (love it or hate it!)
igbadbob10 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Okay. To begin with, this movie is beautifully shot, staged and directed. Secondly, it features some great performances from MOST of the actors. Thirdly, the idea in writing intrigued me enough to watch this film. Now that that's out of the way, I'll explain my not-so good rating...

The Road is about the journey taken by a father and his son, who are heading south towards the sea after the fallout of an undisclosed "event". This journey obviously proves to be somewhat perilous, but this peril is dampened quite significantly by the father's blind tendency to overlook the fact that his son is a sappy, whiny, annoying brat that needs a significant amount of toughening up, in order to survive the ordeals of life in the bleak wilderness that is the landscape of The Road. At one point the father even admits he's trying to pass on this very knowledge, but he never teaches this to his brat, and the brat is constantly crying, whimpering and wanting to make friends with every grimy individual that pops up that doesn't want to eat them, being that foods in short supply!

This pretty much sums up the majority of this movie, which has few flickers of light to provide a balance that I felt was lacking from The Road, resulting in a thoroughly depressing movie which made me cheer towards the end (yes, at the sad bit - the kid deserved it!). And this, just before a convenient "family" moment which seemed rather out of place. Considering the boy's father had been ramming home the message not to trust just anyone, this was just ridiculous!

So, to sum up, I would give The Road a chance. Watch it,take in the lovely cinematography, the fine direction and excellent performances from everyone but the brat and decide for yourself. Just don't watch it if you suffer from depression. Or you're having a bad day. Or if you like nice Hollywood endings. The Road seems to try and aim for this, ultimately, but after all the warnings imparted within, I found it rather hard to swallow!
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1/10
Can I have my 1hour 51min back please........
cathalk-113 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This Was one of the most pointless film I have ever seen in my life, I have tried comparing it to other bad films I have seen but most others have some redeeming qualities. "The Road" could easily be edited down to 10 Minutes and tell the exact same story. Actually where was the story, where were the twists, where was the tension, where were the characters, I could go on and on about what this film lacked and I will.... The films main flaw is that it has no plot, we know the earth is dying from the start of the film, the story then progresses to the main character (Viggo Mortensen) who is on a walk south to the coast with his son and then nothing, nothing happens during the whole film. They eat and walk and then walk some more and then walk some more and then they reach the coast and the father dies. Does this constitute a plot "I don't think so". I would like to know how people get films like this made and how they then get 8 out of 10 stars on a website like IMDb. I now firmly believe that the film studios have teams of writers not working on good scripts any more but writing reviews for films like "The Road" and posting them on sites like IMDb.
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