Saturday, November 28, 2009
Movie Reviews: THE ROAD
A father (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) try to keep the dream of civilization alive as they wander through a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce
Director: John Hillcoat
Opened ..November 25, 2009..
Runtime: 1 hr. 59 min.
Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Genres: Road Movie, Sci-Fi Disaster Film, Science Fiction
The film adaptation The Road requires the viewer’s patience and attention as it pontificates on various elements of human nature and civility in extreme circumstances. Strikingly bleak yet inspirational and hopeful, John Hillcoat’s film can be a slight chore to trudge through but that’s kind of the point. Hillcoat doesn’t attempt to give the audience any glimmer of anything resembling a ..Hollywood.. style happy ending. The majority of the film is shot in weather worn greys and blacks, sapped of color and life mirroring the plot. The characters all look like walking cadavers; most look like they could barely be considered living breathing human beings. It’s a tough movie to watch and not the type that has a clear path, instead it meanders almost aimlessly. The plot isn’t concerned with the destination as much as the journey and the pivotal relationship between father and son. Viggo Mortensen delivers an Oscar worthy performance, his face a mixture of melancholy and quiet strength. Determined but devastated, Mortensen allows the audience to feel every painful step of this harrowing journey. Newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee also delivers fine work as Mortensen’s onscreen son only occasionally bordering on irritating. It’s a challenging role and could have easily been drowned out by Mortensen’s shining work but Smit-McPhee more than holds his own. The two share strong on screen chemistry as demonstrated by some gut wrenchingly tough scenes near the film’s conclusion. Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce are nearly unrecognizable in small roles but both make the most of their limited screen time. Charlize Theron has an equally small role her but is nearly forgettable in comparison. Small issues aside the cast provides strong work across the board. Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy best selling novel, maintains all the power and most of the shocking imagary of the book. The Road is a fasicinating visual parabable about the human condition and the perserverance of the human spirit, a rewarding excursion that might not be for everyone.