The Road (2009)

The Road (2009) — John Hillcoat’s previous film The Proposition was compared to the novels of Cormac McCarthy: a taciturn western with a bleak tone and intense violence.  Fitting then that Hillcoat’s second film is from a Cormac McCarthy novel.  Not a western, but definitely bleak and violent.  The post-apocalyptic setting of The Road really serves just to push the theme of fatherhood to its extreme.  The story is really just about a man taking care of his son.  True, roving gangs of cannibals in a desolate landscape where all plant and animal life have died and starvation is an ever-present threat aren’t really the primary focus of most modern parenting, but that protection instinct is universal.  As an adaptation goes the movie is very faithful although the most graphic image from the book [BOOK SPOILER the baby rotisserie END OF BOOK SPOILER] was removed.  The two leads, Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, are great in their roles and the supporting cast [Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Garret Dillahunt, Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar!), Molly Parker, and Guy Pearce] do a lot with very little screen time.  The movie is mostly a two man show.  This is a depressing movie.  It envisions a world that sucks.  There’s probably a more poetic way to say it [read the book], but mostly it’s just a world that sucks in every way imaginable.  But [TONAL SPOILER] the movie ends with hope and a little hope goes a long way.

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