The Road - Movie Review

By Moira Sullivan

Films with apocalyptic themes are showing up of late, so add The Road to the list. Based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy, we are taken to some distant future where the sun never shines. Kind of like Scandinavia during the winter. Those wall-to-wall grey clouds with no patchwork greet everyday, an everyday with rain and wind and the earth hurling up violently in some kind of repulsion to the poisons in the atmosphere. There are few survivors and with food scarce some revert to cannibalism. The Road shows how crime and greed develop from cataclysmic occurrences and the dark paths that some choose in order to survive. Viggo Mortensen plays "Man", Charlize Theron is "Woman" and Kodi Smit McPhee is "Boy". The breakup of the nuclear family is one of the consequences of a disaster that has no name, or explanation. Kinship takes on new meaning. The man and the boy and the woman try to survive and the woman gives up first for the story is about father and son, scavenging for food, for shelter, protection from the elements. In a cameo role Robert Duval plays "Old Man", hardly recognizable and showing how versatile he is as an actor. Though there are rougher edges to the novel it is still a difficult cinema experience. Viggo Mortensen is compelling as a father trying to shelter his boy, and who carries a gun with only a few bullets. And it is nothing you want to see a child experience but Kodi Smit McPhee endures and his bravery and optimism balances out his father’s diminishing faith. This is not a film where it gets worse and then better, it’s a film that gets worse with one question, how bad can it get? It is implied that we have destroyed the balance of nature and that the earth is in the throes of dying. It is something to think about with the environmental crisis that is real and immediate.

© 2009 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 11/25/09
Movie Magazine International