Cinema Club: The Road (2009)

Posted on September 5, 2013

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The Road (John Hilcoat, 2009)

Ah, so bleak. There is big grey filter all over this film, both in the aesthetic of the film and the story itself. A man, point perfectly played by Viggo Mortensen (who can seemingly do no wrong), is travelling towards the coast with his son in a post-apocalyptic nothing land of wilderness. Something happened, and civilization has completely collapsed. They have a gun with two bullets, you know, in case they need to off themselves. Survivors straggle along, resorting to cannibalism in order to survive. Throughout the film, Viggo has flashbacks of happier times, when he was married to a pregnant Charlize Theron.

This is a pretty desperate film. I read the book in Mostar last summer and absolutely loved it. It was paced gloriously, almost poetically at times. It was so well written that the desolation of the entire situation often disappeared in the face of quality prose. The film doesn’t do that though, obviously. It constantly reminds you just how desperate the situation is. Not much is given away throughout either. There is no explanation for the state of the world, no names for the main characters, nothing is exposed. This is exactly what it should be as well. The story focuses on Viggo and his boy.

Despite the bleakness, there are little bits of light in this film. When they happen upon the shelter and all the tinned food, you almost share their joy. The happiness at finally getting clean, having a decent meal and some peace, it brings a smile to your face. That’s where this film stands up, in that for those brief moments you forget that outside of the shelter is nothingness, no hope, no future. Inside the shelter, none of that matters, at all. It’s wonderful.

Don’t let me fool you though. This is a bleak film, a bleak version of ‘Koktebel’, which wasn’t really drowning in cheery itself. This film does the book justice though, all be it in a different way. Much enjoyed. Seriously.

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Posted in: Cinema