173 of 185 people found the following review helpful
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] , 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.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2010
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.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Ok - this is going to be a very difficult review, because not much of note happened in this film. Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but - like the main characters whose story we follow - it just trundled along. But in a nice way. The only thing I can really say that stood out for me in this film, unfortunately, is the worlds most annoying child. But lets not dwell on the negatives just yet... What of the positives?
Well, first of all let me say if you liked the book the film is a very literall page for page, scene for scene translation - you won't be disappointed in that sense. Everything is included and even complete conversations and dialogue are transfered exactly. I actually prefered the film myself, as I didn't really enjoy the way the book was written. But what of the film?
Some of the reviews on here are very harsh for what is essentially and good film and an interesting story. The cannibal scenes are tense and the Vigo's acting very good. The only problem I had with this film was the annoying kid in it (I had the same problem with the book too). I'm guessing he was meant to be about 10 or 11 years old, but seemed to behave as if he was 3; wimpering and asking stupid questions all the time.
You'd have thought that living in a post apocolyptic hell whole whould have toughned him up a bit and made him a born survivor, but he behaved like a big baby throughout the hole film, and he seemed not to be able to grasp the most basic of skills for surviving a cannibal infested wasteland: When bad guys are about who want to eat you, keep quiet, don't make a sound, and don't talk. I enjoyed this film but the kid spoilt it for me, and if I'd have heard him call out 'pa pa!' one more time I think I would have screamed.
If I was Vigo I would have cooked and eaten him a long time ago.
So my rant about the most annoying child actor in history over, how was the rest of the film? As I said it's pretty good. It manages to engage you and you do feel for the struggle of the father's dilemma - even if you do hate his son and think that his death would be no bad thing. It's tense, looks real, and the vision of a scorched earth is surprisingly convincing and unsettling; you really get a sense of: perhaps that's what it'll be like?
I was unaware of the book before this film, but it made me want to read it (so I did) - another thought - for some reason (the destruction of life as we know it and the struggle for human life aside) this film reminds me of Stephen King's 'The Stand', so if you liked that (the book or the film), chances are you'll like this too.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2014
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2010
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2014
I'm not exaggerating or being "dramatic" or facetious when I say: if you watch this film be prepared to be down on life for a week or two.
The movie is built on the premise that planet Earth no longer supports life. There's no solvable problem for the protagonist and his son to work against, the two just spend the movie trying to avoid immediate death while slowly dying of starvation. They travel to the ocean because the inland winters are getting impossibly cold and they think the coast might be a little warmer but that's pretty much the extent of their "hope." The movie does have it's own version of father-son moments, like dad teaching his child the proper way to commit suicide (the scene plays out the way a father would teach his son to tie his shoes, or ride a bike, or shave, killing yourself is the new "essential skill" in the world of this film) if they ever find themselves surrounded by cannibals.
And it's important to point out that in this extreme situation, none of what we see is heightened or exaggerated for dramatic effect, it is all portrayed in the starkest most realistic manner possible. I'm being completely straight with you when I say that this movie will hit you and you will carry it with you for a while after watching it.
Right now I feel like a parent telling his child, "you should wait to have sex until you're really ready, but if you're going to do it despite my advice, at least use protection." I recommend steering clear of this movie, but if you absolutely must watch it, at least go in having braced yourself to be deeply affected in the most depressing way possible. In terms of "bracing yourself" it is impossible to be "too prepared" to watch this movie. You might even want to read a synopsis and spoil some of it for yourself so that you're not too heavily hit by some of the darker portions of the film.
While it's technically a beautifully crafted and well put together movie, I don't know a single person that I would recommend it to on the basis of taste and preference. It's so sickeningly bleak, if there is anyone out there who finds this movie to be "right up my alley," I surely wouldn't want to meet them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The stark, black and white, post-apocalyptic, world I pictured in my mind while reading Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' is forever laid out in memory in the film by director, John Hillcoat. The real world after a series, of fires and disasters have destroyed the world we know, and 'The Road' is as visible a film as any I have seen.
Many rumors of this film and how it could never live up to the hype of the novel have been swirling through the Internet. What we have here is a masterpiece of a film. It is a powerful vision of a world ten years after some sort of disaster took over. The scenes were shot in post Katrina, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and what they call the 'Abandoned Pennsylvania Highway'. Into this harrowing world marches a man, played by Viggo Mortensen and his son, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, trying to find their way to warmth. The coldness of the world is marked, and we can feel the chill. What they encounter is a horror filled world, one in which a group of cannibals keep a farm of humans with missing limbs in their basement. Gangs of marauders around every corner. We see their day to day existence, filthy as they march along, trying to scrape up food to keep alive. They find a house where a left over can of coke amazes the boy, he has never seen it before, and they gorge themselves with food before marching on once again. The stark reality of their life is measured against the gray world where everything is dying. And in this world, the man is teaching his son about goodness versus evil. What we come to see is that the love of this man for his son is the light that may keep this struggle alive. The absence of a God is evident. The pureness of the son may be the antidote.
Charlize Theron plays the mother in a small part, and she portrays the lack of hope that seems so evident throughout the film. Robert Duvall is the Old Man who conveys bits of wisdom. The son wants to help those who are crying for help, but his father tells him they must move on. They can only trust each other. This film is all about the father and his son. Viggo Mortensen is tremendous in this role, and he plays in every scene. The son is as he should be, watchful, hopeful, luminous at times.
The agony of the life that is left to the father and his son is conveyed with such realism. John Hillcoat has captured the feel and the look of the novel. It was difficult at times to keep watching, but then I had to watch. We all want the man and his son to succeed. They are our hope. "We're the good guys, they're the bad guys" is the message the father is conveying. But deep inside there is the hope that the boy and his father will find more.
Recommended. prisrob 05-24-13
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2012
The first thing to say about The Road is that it isn't an easy film to like and virtually impossible to enjoy in the traditional sense; it is rather a film to be admired and respected than loved. Like Schindler's List and We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Road falls into that category of film where the subject matter is so harrowing, so dark, gritty and horrifying but fundamentally believable that it is as gripping as it is unsettling to watch. The Road's style and structure sets it apart from most other apocalyptic dramas because it doesn't nor does it need to explain what's caused everything and where the characters are going, this is all irrelevant and instead what the story is about simply; survival.
Viggo Mortensen is the unnamed Man who has survived this un-named and unspecified apocalypse that has effectively killed the world. The Man's sole purpose and mission is the protection of his only child, the also unnamed Boy and together they support each other through this cold and barren wilderness to try to survive not just the elements but also the remnants of mankind as well. Always on the move and constantly starving, the Road is an exploration not just of human nature and instincts of survival but of the innocence of childhood and the relationship between parent and child.
The visual effects are striking and the music haunting, the Road is the type of film that'll stay with you and consume your thoughts for days on ends. Fans of the novel should appreciate its general faithfulness to the source material whilst those looking for an action packed apocalyptic drama would do well to avoid at all costs because they will not only be disappointed but most likely miss the point here as well.