Location: Glasgow Film Theatre Date:Saturday 17th January 2010
When it comes to movies that start as novel then movie Ive got a tendancy to see the movie read the book, I did this with Lord of The Rings & Harry Potter franchises and enjoyed them better . When you read the book first and go then see the movie you will just go through the movie constantly been judgemental picking at the movie saying “that was never like that in the book” or “they forgot to put… in!”. So its better to watch a movie with a clear mind and appreciate what is on the screen. This has been a major citicism of THE ROAD, which Ill talk about a little bit later on.
The Road is an terrifying vision of the demise of humanity. The world is strewn with shades of grey, drained of its life and essence, with any ray of sunlight been blocked by the massive grey clouds of ash. How the earth was devasted we dont know apart from knowing a unamed castrophe occoured scattering any remains of humanity. Thos unfortunate to survive, do it anyway they can with all morality and ethics stripped away.
The movies two main protaganists are simply called Man (Viggo Mortensen) and Boy(Kodi Smit-Mcphee) reluctantly raised by man and his wife (Charlize Theron) in this world with death the only thing you can look forward too. Ten Years has passed and Man & Boy trek the vast wasteland via the emtpy network of roads through the mass decaying monochromatic landscape. They scrounge every house, bin, items for the littlest scrapes of food like a rat or hungary desperete animal.
The main criticism of the movie has been the comparision between book and movie. When researching this movie I came a cross an video interview that director John Hillcoat did for Rotten Tomatoes UK (the interview . He clearly states that THE ROAD was not orginally made for the big screen compared to McCarthy’s other book -cum- Movie No Country For Old men which was made as a screenplay then book which is why the Coen Bothers were able to adapt a fantastic play onto the big screen. As for The Road McCarthy give Hillcoat creative License to create his vision of the book and I have to say what Ive learned he still pays homage to the novel as well as creating a very complimentary peice of film.
This does show that the medium of film and writing are similar but also very different. With a book you can create a bleak haunting visual in someone’s mind with a few creative words letting you visually in your mind create what the authour is saying. With a movie it shows what the director has perceived from there vision and sometimes the viewer and director may not think a like.
Hillcoat has created an excellent version of the road, visually breathtaking, bleak but also very beautiful in its own grandjure way. The use of the old deserted mining towns, motorways and mines gives you the authentic feel which is near close to what NcCarthy created in the book.
There was a few things I really admired about this movie. The first was not actually naming the apoclyptic event that destroyed the world, this actually warns us that this maybe a fictional story but how the earth becomes the vast decaying wasteland could actually happen. Be it a nuclear attack or be it a natural disaster is basically left to you the viewer, but if you look closely there is clues to suggest it could have been either devasting event.The other was also not giving the movies characters an actual name, its like a personal touch. The man, wife or boy could easily be you and what the movie is saying to you, “could you live like this?”
Usuing The wife (Theron) only in the flashbacks was another genius move, it lives on the notion of Motherhood and the bond with the boy. You never get to learn how much the boy knew about his mother, she is like a urban myth at times. It also shows how brutal the world became when she cant go on, there is an scene when man and wife are sitting at the table and she confronts man
“Sooner or Later they will catch up with us, they will kill us!!”, “They will rape us and kill us and eat us! you wont face it!!!”
this scene was emtionally terrifying and shows the future they have ahead. Actually only giving a suggestion about the cannibals rather than constant scenes did go down well with me. It shows that the world is lawless but also protrays the cannibals themselves as urban legend keeping the fear with the good people.
What we must not forget The Road is alot like Dracula, we think its an horror movie but its an actual romance movie, the road is actually a intense father-son story who try and keep some form of humanity alive. Bring Moral value and whats right or wrong despite it now been a lawless world. Like any parent they will bring there child up what they see best by. The boy only knows whats right through what his father has experienced. He learns him to trust no one they meat they are the bad guys but we are the good guys. What father doesnt realise the boy is too compassionate still a glimer of humane in the boy when the fathers objective is sometimes to be cruel to be kind attitude.
The real touching moment of there releationship is through the can of coke they find and share, boy says “you did good papa” this makes you think twice to appreciate what you have in financial crisis and remember things like drink, sweets and alcohol are luxuries.
As ever Viggo Mortensen is a man on a mission and give a performance of a lifetime, bringing solidness to the movie as the determined bold father figure, very convincing. But my hat goes off to Kodi Smit-Macphee a newcomer to the industry who gives a great screen presence and I was astonished to read many of the scenes his did with Viggo were improvised ! many experienced actors struggle to improvise, this boy has an bright future ahead of him.
When Hillcoat directed The Proposition it was the birth of a nation (Australia) and the turberlant times they have ahead creating new home, The Road is the exact same but the end of the world. The end of humanity, the characters living on memory, questioning there morality as well as asking us to quiz our own if we were in there shoes. This was an enthralling orginal story which had its faults but in my eyes not emough to deem the film a failure . Its would be good to see the movie then read the book and possibly see the movie again or vice versa and with this you will appreciate the written masterpieces as well as the visual masterpiece.
movie rating: 4/5