- Director:John Hillcoat
- Cast:Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Kodi Smitt-McPhee, Charlize Theron
- Release Date:January 28, 2010
- Running time:119 minutes
- Film Worth:$14.00
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A heavy and philosophical vision of humanity’s possible future.
As this long awaited adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning novella is also director John Hillcoat's long awaited follow up to 2005's The Proposition, expectations are unsurprisingly heavy, as is the film.
A spare, uninviting and relentlessly dour sliver of post-apocalypticism, punctuated by moments of icy terror and tracts of philosophical angst, Hillcoat has produced a legitimate vision of our possible future wholly apart from its summer blockbuster cousins.
Occupying the screen for nearly the entirety of The Road's two-hour running time, co-stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Romulus, My Father) stagger across a burnt-crust America where the sun never shines and nothing ever grows. There is evidence of what had been in the junked cars and urban ruins, but what actually happened to kill planetary life goes unexplained.
In the interceding decade, the human race has shrunk to bands of nomadic cannibals, and for father and son, cannibalism is the last remaining marker between the "good" and "bad" guys.
The cataclysmic world event wiped suicide of most of its taboo, and their wife and mother, played by a miscast Charlize Theron, chose to take her own life over terrible survival. The spectre of her, and her last act, is never far from the pair as suicide is not only a popular choice in this film's world, but also a deeply felt metaphor and part of its political message.
This is a philosophical film before it is a political one, however, about an interior journey, illuminated by the gunmetal vistas that utilise and collapse the orthodoxies of speculative fiction tropes. It is at its best recasting the apocalypse as an inexorably personal experience, an element long lacking in this genre and one happily found here.