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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, distressing, captivating and gripping all at the same time.
Throughout The Road, we're given brief flashbacks of what life was like immediately after the unspecified disaster that rendered the world a wasteland, but cleverly, we're never told exactly what it was. All we know is that there was fire, disturbing clouds of thundering smoke pouring up off hillsides in clouds so vast they take up the entire horizon, and that dust and...
Published on 6 Oct 2010 by Benminx

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read The Book Instead
Do yourself a favour - save your pennies and buy the stunningly brilliant book by Cormac McCarthy. The film however (and I am a huge Viggo-Phile too!) was just slash-your-wrists draggingly depressingly gloomy. Phew! I just couldn't bring myself to care about the Father & Son (I think Kody McPhee was hugely miscast in this movie. A fine young actor with promise - just...
Published on 21 Nov 2010 by T. Wright


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, distressing, captivating and gripping all at the same time., 6 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Road [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Throughout The Road, we're given brief flashbacks of what life was like immediately after the unspecified disaster that rendered the world a wasteland, but cleverly, we're never told exactly what it was. All we know is that there was fire, disturbing clouds of thundering smoke pouring up off hillsides in clouds so vast they take up the entire horizon, and that dust and ash seems to still be raining from the sky many years later. It's a decision that defines the rest of the film as well, as the easy option is never taken in the way the story is told. In Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron's emotional scenes between their characters 'the Man' and 'Woman', everything is underplayed which only enhances the gravity of the terrible situation they're going through. Nobody has the energy for melodramatics in this starving, thirsty, destroyed world. But they still feel everything.
The bulk of the movie is purely 'The Man' and his son 'Boy' played by Kodi Smit-McPhee travelling, trying to walk to their destination and find water and food along the way. This is harder than it sounds as all of the water is polluted (there's clearly not enough spare to wash, as all the characters are filthy throughout), the crops and animals have all died, and raiders scour the landscape in violent groups, looking to capture and eat the unwary. They feel more real in this film than in many others, desperate 'survivalist' type men and women in rag-tag groups with beaten up vehicles and whatever weapons are still working, who view killing and eating other people as little more than a distasteful version of cattle-herding for survival. Other humans are a constant source of fear and mistrust throughout the film and this is very effectively conveyed.
As the film is largely a three-hander (the Man and Boy for the majority, with flashbacks to The Man and Woman for several scenes as well), it helps that the performances are so good. Mortensen feels like a very tired but practical man trying to remain good in a terrible world. Smit-McPhee feels every bit the confused, playful, distracted child that he plays, occasionally heartbreakingly vulnerable and small in the face of terrifying violence. The casting of the two actors is excellent, and as a result they're always convincing. Theron is sterling in a hard role as the frightened, bitter, hopeless Woman.
The design of the ruined world is consistently flawless - you always feel like they may be on a losing mission to survive, such is the sheer devastation and grime around them.
There are a couple of nice surprises along the way, and some joyfully human touches - mainly in the ways the characters react to other people. There are also some moments of serious tension. One set piece where they stumble into the wrong house is nerve shredding in its terrifying possibilities and the sustained tension and fear of being two normal people trapped in a house that's suddenly full of the enemy. Director John Hillcoat squeezes every last drip of tension out of it.
This is mostly a drama of hope, loss, survival and fear, and it's handled excellently. It's also peppered with cameos from famous actors playing characters so dirty and messed up it's hard to recognise them, including Robert Duvall and Guy Pierce.
It's emotionally challenging and hard viewing - I wouldn't bother watching it for a lad's night in or a date movie - but certainly well worth seeing.
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160 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very haunting and powerful movie, 11 Mar 2010
By 
I Like Cheese - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
I loved the novel of The Road and also thoroughly enjoyed the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's other novel No Country For Old Men [Blu-ray] [2007], so I couldn't wait to see this one. It stars Viggo Mortensen as "The Man" who has survived the apocalypse and is now taking care of his young son and trying to keep them both alive, struggling against exhaustion, starvation and cannibals. I knew from reading the book that this wouldn't be a happy film, in fact you couldn't get much further from it. That doesn't stop it from being an exciting and heartbreaking film exploring man's will to survive and the love that he has for his son.

The film is beautifully shot, being partly filmed in post-Katrina New Orleans (as well as Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Oregon, I believe), the scenery is bleak, cold and depressing and most importantly authentically destroyed land, but is equally breathtaking and extremely atmospheric. Acting from Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee is very believable and their bond together did feel genuine to me and mirrored the characters of the novel perfectly. The story is just about survival a coping with the end of the world, basically - nothing more, nothing less. I particularly liked how you never really know why the whole of the human race has been wiped out, so that part of the story is left completely up to you to decide or guess.

The Road is a very haunting and quite powerful film that is very faithful to the novel, but didn't quite make the impact that the book did as it is always harder to feel what the characters do in a movie as opposed to using your own imagination when reading their emotions in a well written piece of literature. This is no fault of the film though, so don't let that put you off. I definitely rate this highly and will most certainly purchase it on Blu Ray or DVD when it is released.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The clocks stopped at 1:17, 9 Feb 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
The Road is directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition) and written by Joe Penhall (Enduring Love). Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by American author Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men), the film stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as a father and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

How do you sell such a sombre piece to the film loving public? I'm not sure I personally can, such is the whirly like emotions dominating my thoughts. OK, it's a grim and bleak film, of that there's no doubt. Director Hillcoat is not out to make a thrilling end of the world actioner. Staying faithful to McCarthy's novel, this is now a world where animal & plant life is practically extinct, where this particular part of America is lawless and populated by cannibal types. Humanity has long since left the arena. How we arrived at such desolation is not clear; intentionally so. We are now just witnessing the after effects of something world changing, the fall out involving us as we hit the road with man & boy.

Hillcoat and his cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe have painted a clinically dead world from which to tell the story. Scorched soil is home to threadbare trees, the skyline punctured by the wreckage of man's progress passed, storms come and go as if to taunt the characters. It's a living hell that begs the question on why would anyone want to survive in it? So here's the thing that finally hit me like a sledgehammer some five days after watching the film, it's not just the bleakness of the apocalypse that gnaws away at you, it's also the expertly portrayed study of parenting. So emotively played by Mortensen, with Smit-McPhee essaying incredible vulnerability, it sinks the heart the longer the movie goes on. All of which is leading up to the ending, where we get something absorbing, revealing and utterly smart.

Tough viewing for sure, but compelling and thought provoking throughout. 8/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have young children this is a very disturbing film, 7 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very strange film. I normally prefer fast-paced action films, but this was a freebie on BTVISION so I watched it one afternoon. If you have young children the empathy you will feel for the child is very strong, making the film very hard to watch and at the same time compelling. That empathy makes the film very grim viewing, not in the "horror" (SAW/HOSTEL) sense, but in the emotional sense. And it's not Hollywood - the ending is not all sweetness and lightness. 5 stars because, at the ripe old age of 45, not sure I have ever had a cinematic experience like this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars COULD THIS BE MANS FUTURE ?, 11 Aug 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Road [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The film follows a Father and Son, survivors in 'post apocalyptic' America, on their journey of despair, searching in hope rather than expectation of finding a better life, eating what scraps they find.
It's a World of very few survivors, trees dying,no crops, animals all but gone, desolation everywhere you look.
Fathers message to his young son, trust 'no man' he constantly tells his son 'we are 'the good people'
Many survivors have turned Cannibal are to survive, those who dont scavenge for the little that can be found.
It's a harrowing tale that has been sensively told, with a stunning performance from 'Viggo Mortensen' ( the father ) and 'Kody Smit-Mcphee ( the son )
Among other well known cast on-board - 'Robert Duvall' 'Guy Pearce' and 'Charlize Theron'
A dark glimse into our future ? ...who knows.
The film is a must-see, or indeed a re-visit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone but this dark post-apocalyptic drama is well made, 18 Sep 2014
By 
Mr Baz - See all my reviews
(#1 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
The Road is based on the award winning novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy and a mostly faithful production to the book.

The film is a rather deep and bleak look at the main characters in the form of father and son Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPheem both of whom have no actual names but are simply credited as "man and boy" respectively. This is a story of survival for the two, and how they cope with the aftermath of the disaster. There are no real answers given as to why civilisation has collapsed or why there are some "survivors" the film explores their journey and ultimately their quest for simple survival.

There are few other cast members, Charlize Theron is featured in flashbacks as the "man's wife", Robert Duvall plays and old man by the name of "Ely" the only name given during the entire film. Later in the film Guy Pearce and Molly Parker have minor roles the cast is small and concentrates mostly on the father and son.

Story wise it's really showing the journey of the two lead cast members "man and boy" this doesn't sound too exciting but they have numerous struggles, and some encounters with other survivors. Directed by John Hillcoat the film certainly excels in the moody and desperate/barren scenes conveying a collapse of society and a barren bleak landscape.

Both of the lead actors do an outstanding job of portraying their roles, not just in terms of the script but there are moments of little conversation and an air of despondency in the acting which isn't an easy thing to do. Sometimes just the facial expressions and tone of voice add significantly to the feel of the film. I found the ending quite good (don't expect a super happy conclusion a small tiny bit of optimism is there), but it's a film which isn't comfortable to watch at times it successfully pulls you into the no hope world the two find themselves in. Not a film to play if you're in an upbeat mood The Road makes no real attempt to lift the viewer it can at times be very heavy viewing.

Quite an unusual film in may ways credit to the team overall the atmosphere is right on the mark. This isn't a film all viewers will enjoy but I can't really fault the experience and story. Worth checking out if you are looking for something a bit off the beaten track.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very sad and poignant, 23 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
I cry at a lot of films, this one i sobbed.

Excellent acting and Viggo Mortensen must have starved himself to prepare himself for the role.

I feel a better person for watching it though, so the pain was worth it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truthful to the novel, 17 July 2010
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
This is an amazing movie. Why? Because truly good films are becoming rarer by the year and it is a thought provoking antidote to all those 'spectacle' based 150 million dollar CGI epics which are about as deep as an episode of 'Here comes Bod'

I can only describe the number of 1 star reviews as being devoted fans of the aforementioned CGI stupifying epic nonsense.

I read both the novel and watched the film within about 3 days - and they both are the kind of works which will stay with me the rest of my days they are so intense and bleak. Maybe that is why there are so many bad reviews of such a good film, because it portrays as honestly as possible the utterly barren, godless, nihilistic world of some undescribed apocalypse. The scenery, the music, the dialogue shows the utter hell the 2 main characters are thrust into. People are probably more comfortable with the action packed adrenalin void of '2012' which describes in far too much detail its unbelievable anesthetized cartoon version of the apocalypse and spoon feed drivel.

Despite the bleakness the film has a core of hope and optimism about humanity (at least some of them)'carrying the flame' If viewed too casually (I don't know how anyone could watch this in such a cavalier fashion)the subtle and beautiful sparks of dialogue are lost.

Beautifully shot film, with a minimum of music (The Coen Bros didn't have music in their Cormac Macarthy adaptation - and it is easy to see why) The film does all the talking, the music merely detracts. I found this refreshing in an age where film soundtracks predominate with pop/rock songs and the soundtrack writ larger than life.(with more than half an eye on music soundtrack merchandising sales)

The acting is first class and there are cameo performances by Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce, so heavily made up you'd be hard pressed to tell who they were.

Please do not be put off by the 1 star reviews, this film will be around a lot longer in memory than the latest blockbuster fodder of the week. A film which demands careful and thoughtful viewing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read The Book Instead, 21 Nov 2010
By 
T. Wright "2Wright" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
Do yourself a favour - save your pennies and buy the stunningly brilliant book by Cormac McCarthy. The film however (and I am a huge Viggo-Phile too!) was just slash-your-wrists draggingly depressingly gloomy. Phew! I just couldn't bring myself to care about the Father & Son (I think Kody McPhee was hugely miscast in this movie. A fine young actor with promise - just not right for this role. His whiny child was so far removed from the strong character in the book that I wanted to shout at the screen when he was being naive - any child brought up in a post apocalyptic environment would not be as green as this about survival. You look at children in any warzone and they are street smart and survival savvy.) and whether they made it to the end of the movie or not (I also wondered whether my will to live would survive to the end of the movie or not!). Very disappointing. Classic books should never be made into movies. 3 stars for the scenic and atmospheric photography and Viggo's superior acting skills (and that's being very generous!).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The shape of things to come?, 11 Jun 2010
By 
D. L. Wilkinson "Dean" (London,UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Road [DVD] (DVD)
I found the road a very thought provoking film.How would we react in the situation of the world virtually destroyed.Would we become monsters or retain some of our civillisation,or just die or want to die miserably.It makes me think of an album I got recently called 'God is Busy,Save Yourself'.
It's not an action film or a happy film but one that raises the questions,what are we without nature and each other.Will our societies and religions survive us or just fade into time as we revert to a more animal state.Your money won't save you or your top job and neither will your good looks and then what's left.It just makes me think I want to protect the world for the generations to come so they don't need to face such a situation.
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The Road [DVD] by John Hillcoat (DVD - 2010)
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