‘THE ROAD’ (2009) IS BOTH FRIGHTENING AND EYE-OPENING – VINTAGE REVIEW

This review was requested by one Kiran P. This is a fan request that I will treat with respect and honesty.

For most high school students, The Road was a book you had the option of reading in your spare time or in those silly reading groups during class, but little did we know that both the book and loyal film of the same name would be such a thought provoking piece of art. The film is directed by Australian director John Hillcoat and stars A History of Violence lead Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as nameless protagonists trying to keep each other in pot-apocalyptic world.

Grim in tone and grey as the ash that blankets the dying earth they live on, The Road is a film about survival and the polar sides of humanity the difficult decisions that loom on those who pick a certain side. Mortensen delivers another stout performance as the father who will do anything to protect the last bit of family he has left. A back and forth conflict of interest throughout the father’s journey with his son becomes unbearable for some watch, but this conflict is the driving force for the character’s development in a world covered in soot and ash and cannibals waiting to strike at any moment.

It’s films like these that make you enter the world that these characters live in and still not have valid answers to the “what ifs” this movie lays down on the table. Would you be able to kill someone even if you only had one bullet left in your gun or would you find other ways to take them down? Would you be able to still try to help good people around you if it meant sacrificing your own minimal supply of rations in a world where food and water are as rare and precious as blood diamonds? If you don’t have answers to these questions, this film is worth your view.

I enjoy this movie immensely because it is a change from our fun loving blockbusters or our over the top rom-coms that give you enough to think about, but not a capacity that will have you harping on for more than a few days. What this film does is entertain you with the visuals and the ideas behind the plot that not only the characters feel, but what you feel in the process of viewing their struggles. For those that don’t like depressing films, chances are this is not for you, but I will say this, it’s worth seeing at least once. There are frightening images throughout that may make some of the viewers turned off to the film, but realize this is more than a gore fest.

This is a smartly written book with an equally intelligent adaptation that lends the talents of one of Hollywood’s true renaissance men as a lead along with his young and talented co-star not far behind him. The images are graphic, but stunningly shot, the acting is great, and the themes will be like adhesives to your psyche once the credits role. It can be a film that doesn’t sit well with people due to an ambiguous ending, but thanks to my English teachers, it all makes sense in the end.

SCORE: B

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