Cinepub


Review: The Road by Jamie

I don’t think it’s any secret that I love post-apocalyptic films. Hell, I even made a list of my own personal top ten of the genre (Part one and part two). So I was understandably looking forward to finally getting around to seeing ‘The Road’ based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. Now I haven’t read the novel so this review is going to be completely from the point of view of someone who only knows the material from the film. Those who’ve read the book may have differing opinions.

The film basically tells the story of a world completely broken by some kind of unspecified disaster. I’m going to guess massive nuclear war although the effects seen in the film could have equally been caused by a massive comet impact. Sure, many would say it’s not important, the disaster isn’t the point of the film. I just like to know what kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape we’re dealing with here. The nuclear scenario has problems that are unique to it such as radiation poisoning that the comet scenario probably wouldn’t have. Alright, I suppose it’s not important.

Anyway from the ashes of this devastated Earth comes a man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). They are travelling to an unspecified location… There’s a lot in this film that’s unspecified even the characters names. That’s fine I suppose although I’m sure it works better in a book, It can be a trifle hard to relate to a character that is unnamed in a film. It makes the characters seem detached from any reality you can recognise, which I suppose is fair enough for a film like this. It kinda becomes a non-issue as the film progresses.

That’s pretty much the plot summed up actually, just the tale of a man and his son on a journey. It’s what happens along that journey that’s important as the two of them try and eke out a survival in this desolate wasteland whilst trying to preserve what is left of their humanity. This isn’t an easy thing to do in a world where it seems as though most other people have resorted to cannibalism, humans being one of the last viable food sources left.

Perhaps the most impressive part of this film is the way it looks. There are a few flash back scenes to a time before the apocalypse event and these are appropriately bright, colourful and somewhat cheerful but it’s the post-apocalypse world that really steals the show. It’s truly a bleakly beautiful vision of a land completely ravaged by disaster. Everything is muted, each colour having an appropriate tinge of grey. There’s one scene in particular that stood out where the characters are walking down a road lined with broken, leaning telegraph poles, each one a mess of tangled, hanging wires, black against a constantly grey sky. It’s grim, yet strangely there is beauty in it and it’s one of the most convincing portrayals of a post-apocalyptic world that I’ve seen since Threads… Oh god, why must I be reminded of Threads…

What really sells this film, besides it’s look, are the performances. Mortensen and Smit-McPhee both play their roles well though the film isn’t particularly dialogue heavy. Still you get a sense that the man loves his son very much, believing his survival to be important above all other things including his own. You also get the sense that his love for his son is the very thing which is starting to lead him astray from his humanity, becoming more vicious and paranoid as the film goes on. It’s also clear that it’s the innocence of a child that his son brings to his life that keeps him from going all the way into barbarism. Smit-McPhee plays the part of a child born after the apocalyptic event very well, seeming fascinated with anything that his father finds from the former world including such things as a can of coke and a tin of peaches. Having said that his performance does seem to get a little cheesy and mildly annoying towards the end of the film, particularly in the scenes of him and his father at the beach but it’s still not bad enough to detract from the enjoyment of the film. I mean he’s certainly no Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace.

Gah!

I refuse to accept you grew up to be Darth Vader…

Charlize Theron also shows up a few times, appearing in flash backs as the boy’s mother. She does well as a woman who simply isn’t content with surviving as her husband is. Unfortunately saying anymore would be entering spoiler territory.

Overall there’s not much more I can really say about the film without giving away much of what happens. I’ll just say there are more than a few stand out scenes, a particular favourite of mine involving a basement which seems to be used as a kind of farm. It’s awesome. I’ll also say that the ending did make my eyes water a little though not really cry as such. Then again I tend to get far more emotionally involved with films than I do real life so maybe that’s just me. All that’s left to say is that it’s a bloody good watch and more than deserving of your time. 4.5 Pints out of 5.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: