Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: 'The Road' for Tom Magazine

For Tom Magazine

THE ROAD (Dimension)

Anyone who has read Cormac McCarthy’s bleak masterpiece will know what to expect from the film. This is a faithful adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize winning novel that is every bit as heart-wrenching. The language powerfully conveyed an overriding desolation, and was converted expertly into a grey and sparse visual landscape. This is a vivid picture of the world’s future without rose coloured glasses; a nuclear winter has set in, and humanity is pushed to its limit.

After the suicide of his wife (Charlize Theron), a man (Viggo Mortensen) attempts to reach the coastline with his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), hoping to find warmth and food there. The journey is a struggle; each move makes them targets for the depravity that has taken hold of the remaining humans, and the never-ending cold and hunger. Scavengers, cannibals and violent gangs are all searching for their next meal, the next place to stay the night. The imagery is so unimaginably dark that even small triumphs feel out of place, and are quickly quashed. One example of this is when the boy sees a living beetle for the first time, and his amazement is drowned out by his father’s yells as he gets shot with an arrow.

Ultimately, though, the film gives an amazing insight into the extremes of human nature and of human relationships. The relationship between father and son as portrayed here is very believable, and is the one light permeating a dark world. Without the solidness of their love for each other, and the movingly protective nature of the father, this film would not be watchable. At times it is utterly depressing, others sickening, sometimes tear-inducing. It is a sincere look into our planet’s future, and what damage we’re capable of inflicting upon ourselves. Because of this, I felt disturbed and unsettled long after it had finished. It may not be easy viewing, but it’s a valid statement and one that relates more to everyday life than it would seem. There are good guys and bad guys, but everyone’s ultimately just trying to get by. The trick is, according to the film, is to make sure that you remain a good guy no matter what.

(Anna Angel)

Original here.

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