Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Road

Are you ready to take a deep thoughtful walk on The Road

A bleak psychological thriller set in an unknown time in the future with an unknown catastrophe that destroyed a substantial portion of the world, as we know it. You have to be in the mood for this type of film, and you have to be ready to think. Be prepared to examine what would drive you as a human being if you are living in a post-apocalyptic world that the man and his son are in a while on a hopeless journey. "The Road" stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the nameless father and son who are trekking south to the ocean, after many years hiding in the mountains as survivalists. The film also stars Charlize Theron as mom, and an astounding small but effective character part played by Robert Duvall is a surprise. Almost two hours, "The Road" is an engaging character based story, well acted, and deftly executed by director John Hillcoat. Rated R for violence and language, this is a thinking man's film.

The director tells the story in flashbacks, giving the past just when the director has a lull in action, giving us the opportunity to learn the history and the character development of each of the main characters. The Man, Husband, and Father played by Viggo Mortensen, plays a man determined to keep his family alive despite the disasters that befall the earth. Like the book of Revelations in the Holy Bible, the land quakes, forest are on fire, always raining, the days are hot, while the nights freeze. The two travel and find dead everywhere, mostly in their beds, choosing die there. No talk of radiation, one can only assume an act of God.

We see panoramic views of desolation; freeways destroyed, and abandoned cars everywhere. The world of the Father and his Son are bleak. The boy and his father are traveling south, to the coast. However, we learn that the boy once had a mother (Charlize Theron), who gives birth to the boy near the beginning of the film. Nine years later, the family still hiding up in the forest away from civilization. Theron as the mom is moving closer to depression as the days go by, the Father and son forage around their cabin. The mother wants to die she wants to take her life with a gun, but turns remorseful as the days turn to years. Mortensen, reminding me of good fathers that I have known plead with his wife, if not for his sake, but for the boys. The mother keeps questioning, "Is this living?", and “Is this, a life, that we want to give to our son”? Hillcoatfilmed with a palette of muted browns and gray colors that add to the dreariness.

Traveling from town to town, foraging for food, sometimes they are successful, often times they are not able to find fool. the fear of the two travelers, are the thoughts of cannibalism. Rumors abound of survivalist groups that have sunk to that level. Viggo's motivation is his boy, to keep him, alive, and innocent as much as possible. As each new place, they journey and each new danger they uncover, the boy, like Jiminy Cricket plays the voice of The Father's conscience, helping the father to reassure the boy and himself that they are "the good guys." You stick with The Road, because of Viggo and Kodi Smit-McPhee' characters are well thought out and well acted. Credit goes to author Cormac McCarthy ("No Country for Old Men"), for the depth of character, he gave to Viggo, and Kodi bring to life. For the right audience, "The Road" is a masterpiece of story telling. Film pace is fast and the music provided by Nick Cave ("Dig Lazarus") is inspiring and well written. Supporting actors, Theron and Duvall are surprising, breaking out of the stereotypes that we placed them into in our minds. For those willing to think while watching this film, you will find The Road a rewarding journey.

Movie Data

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Year: 2009
Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee,Charlize Theron
John Hillcoat
Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz, Nick Wechsler
Cormac McCarthy (novel) & Joe Penhall (adaptation)
Rating: R
Running Time: 111 minutes
Release Date: 11/25/2009

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