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Overrated...and unrelentingly bleak!,
This review is from: The Road [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This has to be one of the most depressing movies ever. I give it 3 stars due to the high production values and the earnest acting from Mortensen & the lad who plays his son.
It's a real trial to sit through; very little happens, the narrative is often confusing (several flashback sequences do not really help either) and no explanation is given as to what caused the world wide apocalypse - although it appears to have been some sort of natural disaster as opposed to nuclear conflagration. I mean the world is absoluteley desolate; only small, isolated pockets of bedraggled humans survive, there is no animal life, plant life is scorched and degraded almost to extinction, barely any buildings are left standing. It makes the Book Of Eli's scenario look like a Dubai resort!
There is NO action; we are not in Mad Max waters, there are no car chases and this movie should not be confused with Book OF Eli at all. The Washington movie is a bona fide action vehicle, The Road is a serious study of a father and son essentially dying slowly of starvation whilst wandering from one ruined outbuilding to another. That's it. No hand to hand fights, elaborate FX etc. Although there are some very impressive visuals of the ruined land, a fine blend of top class cinematography and photo real CGI shots. I was so glad of a break from the misery when the couple discover a cellar of untainted canned food. A rare escape from the starvation. The closest to a SF/Horror scenario is the element of cannibalism that many of the survivors have turned to and which is the second biggest threat to father and son. Don't expect to see anything though! Most of the chomping is off screen. And the end?? Too sudden for me, it offers at least a shimmer of optimism that feels at odds with the rest of the movie.
There are a few explosions at the start of the movie (possibly after effects of the unnamed cataclysm) and a very short, small scale earthquake but that really makes up all of the action. It's just walking, lot's of walking. And talking. And a few flashbacks to the father's old life pre apocalypse & the early days of struggle. That's the movie really...
This is a film that will divide viewers - I admire it's sincerity but don't expect to be entertained in the pure sense of the word. To be honest, the best "serious" study of a post apocalypse life is the BBC's 1983 drama, Threads. That still sets the benchmark with it's depiction of life in the following days after a nuclear strike on the city of Sheffield.
The extras aren't extraordinary and as for the transfer, well I really struggled to make out what was going on in the night time/dark scenes. The day scenes looked pretty sharp in Full HD but the print is almost completeley bleached of colour due to the film's intentions - I guess it looked good for what it's depicting?!
Bottom line; it's worth one watch but I would applaud anyone that could repeat view this. Just be aware of what you are getting...