Synyster Graves

The Road

by on Feb.10, 2011, under Further Down The Rabit Hole

Sadly, in my opinion, Viggo Mortensen hasn’t been placed in too many good roles since his epic performance in the ‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy, and ‘The Road’ is no exception. To me, this movie seems like it represents all the scenes from other post-apocalyptic films that would have been too boring to make the final edit, hence weren’t filmed in the first place. The film meanders along for almost 2 hours and doesn’t really take us anywhere. Perhaps it’s meant to be a poignant depiction of the extremes of human nature; good and evil, but aside from that weak link there’s really nothing more to this film.

The film is based on a book of the same name written by Cormac McCarthy. An unnamed father, played by Viggo Mortensen, and son, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, are survivors of some kind of nuclear apocalypse. There is sparse vegetation and even less animal life so the survivors are forced to scavenge and steal just to stay alive. We see very few other characters in the film as we follow the father and son making their way south in search of the coast; perhaps where it’s warmer, perhaps in search of more food; or even civilised civilisation.

As the story progresses it’s like watching the boring bits of ‘The Postman’ as we follow the father and son rooting for supplies in abandoned cars and buildings, adding to their stockpile of food and provisions that they carry in an old shopping trolley. The father has a voiceover through most of the film explaining a (very) small amount of the back story i.e about his late wife and that a big worry in the new world is getting killed and eaten by cannibals.

It’s a very simple movie and the visuals are pretty interesting, although I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are in any way stunning or evocative. It’s all a bit mediocre really. We follow the man and his son through a few encounters with other survivors, mostly hiding and then running away to avoid contact with others, as they seem for the most part to all be cannibals. Eventually the man gets shot in the leg with an arrow; he kills his assailant but later dies of his wounds. The film then wraps up rather quickly and pointlessly with the son seeing a stranger who he initially fears. After the stranger approaches he explains he’s been following the boy for a while now, that he’s worried about the boy and wants him to come and join his family.

If you want to see how to make a post-apocalyptic movie I would suggest you watch ‘The Book of Eli’ which is a fantastic film. This however, was not. It really doesn’t go anywhere or prove anything. Even ‘The Postman’, although not well received, actually goes somewhere; the world is saved; brought back to being civilised; all is well. ‘The Book of Eli’, again another film I’ve mentioned above, goes somewhere; there’s a point to his journey; he achieves something. The characters in ‘The Road’ don’t get anywhere or achieve anything. I’d give it a poor 3 stars; It’s not awful, but it doesn’t really go anywhere or have any point.

3 Stars

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