The Road Review

“You ever wish you could die”

“No, you can’t wish for such luxuries in times like these”

So I went to watch a special screening of the film The Road. I knew nothing of this film or the book it was based on prior to the screening so did not know what to expect. The film is based on a book by Cormac McCarthy who also wrote No Country for Old Men which I thought was a very good film. It stars Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and new comer Kodi Smit-McPhee who plays Mortensen’s young son.

The Road is a post apocalyptic story of Mortensen and his son travelling across a desolate and dangerous America to try and get to the warmer coast of the south with just a shopping trolley filled with all they have. It starts off 10 years after an unknown incident destroyed the world. One day there was a big flash of light and then nothing. Firstly I have never watched a film that portrayed such a dark, bleak, emotional and frankly frightening view of a post apocalyptic world. Often with films such as I Am Legend you still get a glossy, bright sense of things thrown in with destroyed building and famous landmarks. In The Road, America is desolate and barren. There’s no energy, food, animals, vegetation and tens of millions have died. The remaining humans are basically slowly starving to death and it’s everybody for themselves.

Their journey is an emotional and powerful one with Mortensen’s character having flashbacks of their lives leading up to the big flash and the early days after the world is destroyed. They have to scavenge for food, clothing and places to sleep while avoiding the various dangerous individuals including groups of militia while discovering the horrors of what people starving will do to survive. On their journey they meet a few characters including an old man travelling alone played by Robert Duvall. The quote at the top of this review is from a conversation between Mortensen and Duvall. Mortensen while trying to survive also knows he needs to teach his son to be able to live in this harsh world who as a 10 year old has a natural naive view of things and doesn’t fully understand the dangers around him as he wants more company than just his father.

I can’t just class this film as a drama alone and would have to add thriller, adventure and even horror to it. Some may find it a bit of a slow burner which seems to be a trend with the author for those that have read or watched No Country for Old Men.  I did find it a little too slow at times but still very powerful and emotional. This was truly the only time I have ever watched a post apocalyptic film and left the cinema thinking God forbid I would ever have to live in such a world.

When the film finish I’ve never been in a cinema that remained so quiet during the credits. Half the audience quietly left amongst some whispering while myself and the other half just sat there watching the credits made even more eerie and emotional by the lack of music for the first couple of minutes, just the credits rolling silently.

Score 7.5/10 – Maybe not a cinema film for some but definitely worth watching.

Reviewer – Amaechi Oduah

The Road will be released 8th January 2010 in the UK and 25th November in USA.

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