33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT Movie Version of a Powerful Book
"The Road" by "No Country for Old Men" author Cormac McCarthy is a quiet but volcanically devastating novel that looks unflinchingly into the darkest depths of human existence ...and still finds light. The long-anticipated film version here was well worth the wait and lived up to the enormous expectations set upon it by those who had read the Pulitzer prize winning book...
Published on April 9 2010 by Richard S. Warner
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best but OK
It was ok That's all I can say. The story is ok but it gets long . . . Would not have bought it if I had known.
Published 13 days ago by Michel Gauthier
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT Movie Version of a Powerful Book,
This review is from: The Road (DVD)"The Road" by "No Country for Old Men" author Cormac McCarthy is a quiet but volcanically devastating novel that looks unflinchingly into the darkest depths of human existence ...and still finds light. The long-anticipated film version here was well worth the wait and lived up to the enormous expectations set upon it by those who had read the Pulitzer prize winning book and were stunned by it.
Viggo Mortensen, these past few years, has really been in his prime, doing the best work of his career. Just when I thought his performance in "History of Violence" could not possibly be topped, there comes "The Road".
His portrayal of a nameless father shepherding himself and his young son, with the highly loaded, ironic symbol of their shopping cart, across an inexplicably destroyed America, in a post-apocalyptic nightmare more cruel and gruelling than anything previously imagined, shows that Mortensen is an actor of the highest possible calibre.
His father, who is ruthlessly protective of the innocence embodied in his son, though subtly played, is a powerhouse portrait of a man's determination to see that the light of the world does not go out. Even in situations of the most abysmal and hopeless darkness, despite enormous odds, the man carries on, even as his own mortality breathes its foul and frigid breath down his determined neck.
Like the McCarthy book, this film is deathly quiet - bone-chillingly, almost suffocatingly quiet and unrelenting in its heavy, gray unchangeability. It is a sequence of events along the same road, following a dogged path of near-death survival with only various kinds of tragedy and horror to offer any variation. But it is far from boring or tedious.
The film version of the novel beautifully maintains the oppressively gray monotony along with an electrically charged tension and nerve-snapping fear. The only respites are the flashbacks to the man's pre-apocalyptic life in a sunny, green world with his wife, played with striking and frightening realism by Charlize Theron. One of the most intense emotional highlights is the deeply moving, painfully vulnerable scene where Mortensen pleads with the suicidal Theron not to leave ... while the world burns down in monstrous, choking clouds of ash. Her reasonings and decisions make a tragic, devastating sense that one is helpless to contradict. They add even more tension and ambiguity to the stupor of reason that the mass destruction has brought. The world has been utterly destroyed, and along with it, for the most part, the linear human reason that constructed that world in the first place. The mind-numbing impact of the situation has blasted away every human artifice except the struggle to stay alive ... or not.
Robert Duvall's cameo too, is a masterpiece in itself, bringing out the compassion that the son embodies but that the father seems to have abandoned in his steel will for survival. The son's compassion later provides a tension and crisis that transforms him, and thereby Mortensen's character, in an unforseen flipping of moral superiority. The son becomes then, the father to the man. Kodi Smit-McPhee's performance as Mortensen's son deftly walks the shakey fine line between terrified innocence and emerging personality, a man of his own, coming into being.
This movie is definitely NOT for those who like to see Mortensen as the reluctant King of Gondor or as powerful and mysterious crime figures. This one, a difficult and frightening masterpice, is for those who realize that Viggo Mortensen is an incredibly talented actor.
John Hillcoat's direction and cinematography are inspired, completely impeccable and powerfully evocative of McCormac's now-classic novel. This is a movie version of a great book that actually does the written work an immense justice. That is a very rare thing in cinema, to be sure.
*** Viewers: do not miss the moving experience waiting for you after the film itself ends and the credits start to roll ***
A haunting, even tear-provoking, sound collage, probably recorded in a typical residential suburb, is played for a remarkably long time over the end credits ... and is NOT to be missed! Most probably walked out of the theatre without hearing it and many of us will stop the DVD once the credits begin to roll ... RESIST that. Keep the disc going and let the sonic meditation of the sounds of our taken-for-granted world: lawn mowers, sprinklers, dogs barking, children playing etc hit you with the full force of its intended impact. I would venture that a total experience of "The Road" is not complete until you've sat through the end credits to their final conclusion. It is a riveting and achingly poignant coda in the light of the film you just saw.
NOT for the faint of heart or those needing constant bangs, flashes or an ADD flood of 10-second edits to keep them interested. This is for those who like things REAL, exquisitely paced and psychologically and emotionally transformative.
"The Road" is a major work of Art.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely heartbreaking...,
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best but OK,
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4.0 out of 5 stars A desolate story of the love between father and son,
As you might expect, the movie didn't have much of an impact at the box office. I suppose that most people are reluctant to expose themselves to such a sad story?
When you strip it right down, the film is about the love a father has for his son. We never learn their names; any references made simply refer to The Man (Mortensen) and The Boy (Smit-McPhee). These two actors carry the movie, but we occasionally see people they encounter, and flashbacks of The Man's wife (Theron). Her role is small, but the scenes are effective, and help to frame the story.
There are many reasons to see this movie.
Viggo Mortensen delivers a superb performance that failed to receive the Oscar recognition it deserved. Perhaps the voters never saw the movie either?
We learn that The Man's wife couldn't face life in a world where everything was dying, so he is solely responsible for his son. The reason for the apocalypse is only hinted at, and mentions a sudden light. It leaves the skies permanently gray, and everything covered in a layer of ash. Trees, plants, and insects are dead or dying. The only life remaining comes in the form of a few humans, and many of them aren't too fussy about how they survive.
Perhaps this is what the world might eventually look like if Earth was struck by an asteroid?
The movie could be viewed as a metaphor for life itself. When we face terrible events in our own lives, most of us choose to weather the storm and survive to the best of our abilities. Imagine a life where there was nothing left to achieve. What would you do? The Man decides that he will take his son to the coast. Perhaps things will be better there, and maybe there will be something left alive.
What makes The Road an astounding story is the writing. Cormac McCarthy's book is strangely moving. It succeeds because of the intensity of the brief dialog between father and son. The son asks a lot of questions, and often wonders whether they are the good guys. The father explains as well as he can, and his son accepts all of his words without question.
The Road is nothing like McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, and isn't designed to be a piece of entertainment. It's a study on human character, and what drives us to exist at all. I admire post-apocalyptic stories when they are done well, and this is about as realistic as it gets. If you enjoy seeing how society breaks down when money is meaningless and food is scarce, you'll find the story interesting. If you are a parent, I would be surprised if you aren't moved at the love between father and son.
What would you do to protect the life of your child? How would you justify your actions? Could you kill and still be a good person?
I won't reveal how the story ends, or comment on whether it is uplifting or as sad as the rest of the movie. That's for you to discover. All I will see is that The Road is a significant achievement, and brings to life a book that seemed almost impossible to film. The cinematography is particularly convincing.
If you are a fan of The Grey, The Mist, Children of Men, or The Stand, there's a fair chance you'll find something interesting in The Road. Don't watch it if you are expecting an action movie.
The Blu-ray offers a strong presentation, but it won't dazzle you because the colors are deliberately muted to fit the story. You need to be in the right mood to watch The Road, but it's worth it when that mood strikes. You'll never take another meal for granted.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Had to have this work in my collection,
This review is from: The Road (DVD)Wow! A definate hit and 'must have' for any collection. Not for the faint of heart though: the subject matter touches on many pertinent existenstial questions: What does the future hold for mother Earth and, therefore, humanity? What is it that keeps love alive when all hope seems to be gone? Is the parental drive an expression of mankind's need to forge an immortal link with that which is eternally divine? Or is it purely an instinctual, biological imperative to perpetuate the species? What makes us truly Human?
As a confirmed horror flick buff, I am usually somewhat desensitized to gore. But The Road stayed with me for a while. Yet, as gorey movies go, it probably would not be considered a top contender. Still I found this movie to be 'psychologically gorey'.
Lastly, it was refreshing to see the paternal bond of a father for his son portrayed so postively and with such emotional depth.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the Depths of Human Nihilism,
This review is from: The Road (DVD)As much as I tried liking this film (I am a huge Viggo Mortensen fan), I couldn't help but conclude that this is a relatively dull film. The backdrop of a world totally devastated of plant and animal life, the emergence of human cannibalism, and from what I could garner from the film, the progressive extinction of the female gender, is a nightmarish vision of a hell on earth. But what makes it a hell on earth is not so much the physical destruction of Mother Earth as is the destruction of the human spirit. Though the tender and loving relationship between father and son is emotive, I found the film to have an overbearing sense of nihilism which hindered me from caring for the characters or story in the film. In fact, I found myself wishing they would all just die and be put out of their misery, since they literally had nothing to live for except survival. It is difficult to even fathom an interested God is such a hell.
I also found the film to be grossly inconsistent. The idea that everything would perish except a handful of humans seems rather absurd. Anything that could kill all plant, animal, insect life, and 99% of the human population probably would kill 100% of everything. I realize the film is not really about Armageddon, but how love can giving the human spirit meaning even in the most hellish scenario, but the film puts it in the context of such hopeless despair for the future that it is difficult to really appreciate the deep love the Mortensen character has for his son. I found the ending also inconsistent and misleading, since it implies a hope that really is not there if one really thinks about it.
A film that is interesting enough, but not really that entertaining.
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The Road by John Hillcoat (DVD - 2010)
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