Reviews & Previews - The Road

Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 06:00 PM

The Road

By: S. Tran

Starring: Viggo Mortenson, Kodi Smit-McKee, Charlize Theron
Directed By: John Hillcoat
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Rated: R

Leads to Depression

I love a good apocalyptic movie as much as anyone, but The Road makes other end of the world films look like cheerful party films by comparison. Based on the award winning book by Carmac McCarthy, the story explores how horrible life would be, and that's pretty much it.

The story begins as a disaster strikes the Earth destroying all life. We're never told exactly what happened. This event, like many things in the film, is not given a name. Mortenson and his son, played by Smit-McKee are two of the few remaining humans struggling to survive on the remnants of human civilization. After the mother (Theron) leaves them the two are left on their own.

As with the disaster, we are never told their names, they are just one of the dregs of humanity left to filter through the scraps. The name of the film comes from the journey that they take from their home to the coast where they hope to find a better life.

Along the way, they have to avoid roving bands of survivors who have turned to cannibalism. This, along with the bleak landscape, gives the film a constant air of dread and utter hopelessness. Through all of it the father tries to keep some hope alive by reminding his son of the good that people are capable of, but it's a small spark against a wave of despair.

While the story and film are well done, its so utterly depressing that I found it hard to take away anything from the film. While I understand this is probably how the end of the world would most likely play out, realism does not necessarily make for the best films. For lack of a better word the film just felt flat. There were a few peaks but mostly it was just one long, dark, depressing valley. After awhile I think I simply became numb to the whole thing.

I don't know if I can say this is a bad film.The acting was good and the production values were Hollywood standard. Of course its based on an award winning book, so I guess I can't complain about that either. For whatever reason though I had a hard time connecting with the movie. You might feel differently.

2.5 our of 5 stars.

S. Tran also writes at, and


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