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wofford29
08-13-2008, 04:49 AM
In my opinion, "The Road," written by Cormac McCarthy, is one of the best novels of modern times. Entertainment Weekly just recently listed it as the #1 novel from the past 20 years. It goes without saying I was beyond excited when this film was first announced. From directing, to casting, to the source material, everything is in place for this to be a remarkable piece of art. Let's discuss, but please don't spoil anything for those that have not read the book.

Here's some great teaser shots to kick things off....

http://i36.tinypic.com/24ya4k3.jpg
http://i37.tinypic.com/2iia34z.jpg
http://i35.tinypic.com/35n7pk1.jpg
http://i33.tinypic.com/29f5qbc.jpg
http://i37.tinypic.com/69kx0m.jpg
http://i33.tinypic.com/2w4l8is.jpg

Directed by John Hillcoat who provided 2005's "The Proposition" which I feel is the best western since "Once Upon A Time in the West"

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, and Kodi-Smit Mcphee as the son

Music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. I loved their work on "The Proposition" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

Cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe, who in my opinion is right up there with the likes of Roger Deakins. Some of his highlights for me are two of my top 10 Spanish films of all time "Talk to Her" and "The Sea Inside" his work will probably be better known to most from "The Others." He also just completed Woody Allen's latest "Vicky, Christina, Barcelona."

Release date is currently November 26, 2008. Hopefully this one won't get stuck in limited release. You would think that after the success of "No Country For Old Men" they'll get behind this one to market it.

DarkArtist81
08-13-2008, 08:31 AM
Looks interesting... I will certainly catch it. Anything with Viggo is GOLD in my book, the guy does phenomenal work.

Darth Waller
08-13-2008, 10:43 AM
I plan on reading this and seeing the movie, but I'm currently re-reading Harry Potter 1-6 before part 6 comes out.

EVILFACE
08-13-2008, 10:59 AM
Never heard of it, what is it about?

King Darkness
08-13-2008, 11:01 AM
Looks like a great cast, I will check it out.

wofford29
08-13-2008, 11:25 AM
Never heard of it, what is it about?

Taken from wiki...


The Road is a 2006 novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. It is a post-apocalyptic tale describing a journey taken by a father and his young son over a period of several months across a landscape blasted years before by an unnamed cataclysm that destroyed civilization and, seemingly, most life on earth. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2006 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction.

KrisSolo
08-13-2008, 11:34 AM
Oh man! One of my fave books of the last 10 years! Soooo atmospheric! As I read it I thought it would make a great film, in the right hands. Looks like those hands found it - loved 'Proposition' too. I only hope they maintian the wonderful build and tension of the novel.

Must. Resist. Spoilers...

IronFingaz
08-13-2008, 11:44 AM
Looks interesting, can't wait to see it.

At first i thought it was some cry-your-eyes-out story about a homeless father and son trying to stay alive. Sounds like i was way off :lol

wofford29
02-20-2009, 03:45 PM
Still no confirmed release, still no trailer, but this early review has me even more excited....(Possible Spoilers if you don't know what the book is about)




Hi Harry!

Caught a screening of 'The Road' a few days ago in NYC and thought I'd write in my thoughts. I'll keep this spoiler-free for the most part.

They prefaced to us that the movie was still a 'work in progress.' Apparently some coloring, sound mixing, and effects still had yet to be completed. They must have been very technical because I didn't see any sign of an unfinished movie.

I'm an avid Cormac McCarthy fan and 'The Road' is my favorite of his works. It's by far his most poetic book which made me weary of seeing it made into a film, because how can any filmmaker capture his gorgeous prose and put it up on a screen? The Coen Brothers did it to near perfection, but 'The Road' is far more abstract and minimalistic than No Country for Old Men.

Well it's been done. Because this movie is incredible.

If you've heard anything about this story the word 'post-apocalyptic' has surely come up. Well yes, it is about that, but that acts more as a vessel to tell a story about what's left to do once all hope is lost. There is no hope left in this story. This is not Children of Men where we are wondering if maybe the world can get another kick start. This is what's left of an ant pile after you spray it with a hose for an hour. A few ants still running around with nothing left and waiting to die. Everyone who is familier with the book will be pleased to know that the reason the world is over ramains ambiguous. There is no reason to explain it and the rest of the film follows suit, giving us just what's needed so all that's left is a stripped down account of the relationship between a father and his son in these circumstances.

John Hillcoat has taken this dark and brooding story and turned it into something so cinematic yet still maintaining an absolutely faithful adaptation. I had read in an interview with him a while back where he said he was planning on adding a bit more color to this movie because an audience 'doesn't want to look at grey for 2 hours.' Well if he did he made it very very subtle because the color scheme works entirely. It's still very grey and still very dark. The scope of this movie is unbelievable with vast and detailed landscapes representing a dead world. These shots are accompanied by voiceovers spoken by The Man from passages taken directly from the book. As far as the visual aspects go and how much we are allowed to see of this world is niether overdone or underdone. It's not JUST a forest and it's not The Day After Tomorrow. The artistic direction really substitutes for the writing in the book and helped to give me the same feeling I got when I read it. A perfect balance.

So we have these seven performances that make up this movie.

Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Garret Dillahunt and Michael K. Williams all have one scene each of very important characters, all of which give us a very good portrait of every aspect of this society. I could go off on each of them and how they gave each role so much and why it worked so well with the world of the movie but this review would be far too long. They're all just great.

The other three that were so important to making this movie successful simply nailed it. Viggo Mortensen, to me, was genius choice of casting from the start. That desparation that we've seen in him (the "we don't kill babies" scene from Eastern Promises to name an example) is flooded throughout this performance. How do you lead your only son through a scorched world in search of nothing? What is the point? Well Viggo finds one and it will tear your heart out. He also finds a few points to make us laugh, which is more than necessary given the nature of this movie. Kodi Smit-McPhee. Is he good? Does he get the job done? Everyone is wondering. The answer is you have nothing to worry about. The kid is one hell of an actor. He's a boy born into this world, knowing nothing of what was. He's heard stories of birds and the sky but they all have to live in his imagination. And they do. Because he has stories from books and his father to teach him what once was a reality. And to a boy that doesn't know more than a destroyed planet, this creates one hell of a ball of light in a dark dark world. This kid's compassion and optimism and love for the remainder of humanity is heightened by the fact that all those attributes are since extinct. It's jolting to others he comes in contact with. Finally we have Charliz Theron who gives her best performance to date. (Even better than her overrated performance in 'Monster' which in my opinion was nothing more than an overglorified impression of Michael Keaton.) She exists only in flashbacks and represents one of the many victims of a person who's soul died with the world. Hoplessness has overtaken her to a point where she only exists as a hollowed out shell of a person, waiting to fall just like the trees in the deceased world. Love has lost its meaning and her steady decline is heartbreaking.

The score worked really will by Nick Cave. Lots of strings. It was sort of a giant mix of Jonny Greenwood, Clint Mansell, and Michael Nyman. But it really gave the movie a great tone.

The movie sucks you into a completely different world and it's nearly impossible to peel yourself away from it for it's duration. as slow-paced as this movie can be, like in the book, there are riviting moments that will make you jump out of your seat with disgust, excitment, and suspense. These moments are spaced out perfectly and with each one you are pulled in further into the horror being presented. This was a giant screening with a huge movie theatre completely filled. Most people had no knowledge of what they were getting themelves into. The audience was very communal, silent at the right parts and audibly gasping at other parts. The feel I got from reactions on my way out was that they were all on a crazy ride together. People who didn't like depressing movies didn't like it, but people who liked GOOD movies, even if it is depressing, loved it. There was one jump cut in particular that I can remember that reminded me of the famous cut in 2001: A Space Oddesy. A dramatic cut from what was to what is. It's in the beginning and it'll hit you hard.

That's about it. I have a feeling that when this movie finally hits it'll be a big deal. I know I praised the hell out of it but I really did like it that much. I couldn't hardly find one thing about it I hope to see changed in the final product. Let's hope they don't change it up too much.

Done and done.

Wetanut
02-20-2009, 04:50 PM
Just finished reading the book. I wanted to slit my wrists. Haven't been so very depressed ever. Not saying I disliked the book....it was just plain darn bleak.

karamazov80
02-20-2009, 05:20 PM
http://i37.tinypic.com/69kx0m.jpg

OMAR!!

:rock

Viggo's work with Cronenberg has earned him a great deal of respect in my mind. I'm not sure that great books need to be squished down into movie form, but with Omar and Viggo, I'm sure I'll check it out anyways.

Darth Waller
02-20-2009, 05:30 PM
Just finished reading the book. I wanted to slit my wrists. Haven't been so very depressed ever. Not saying I disliked the book....it was just plain darn bleak.

I finally got a chance to read it a few months ago and had pretty much the same impression.

Entropy
02-20-2009, 05:42 PM
I LOVE the book, hell, I love everything Cormac has written. Only the ending is a bit of a let down. It basically has to end the way that it does, a different ending would be too much after the tough story, but it is a bit too convenient and deus ex machina for my tastes. Hopefully the film can improve on this aspect and make it seem a bit more natural.

tylerdurden
02-20-2009, 09:11 PM
the road was supposed to have been released at the end of 2008. but it got pushed back to later this year. was quite looking forward to it, can't wait...

wofford29
05-13-2009, 05:18 PM
Hot damn reading this actually made me choke up a bit...
http://www.esquire.com/features/movies/the-road-movie-review-0609

Batty
05-13-2009, 05:25 PM
Hot damn reading this actually made me choke up a bit...
http://www.esquire.com/features/movies/the-road-movie-review-0609

I read this yesterday. I love the book and can't wait to see the movie.

karamazov80
05-13-2009, 05:36 PM
I love "All the Pretty Horses," but never got around to reading this one. . .think I'll pick it up soon.

DarkArtist81
05-13-2009, 05:56 PM
Thanks for posting that! I'm really looking forward to this movie, I hope it gets the release it deserves. :rock

plasmid303
05-13-2009, 06:13 PM
It's still so far away (October?). Well, I guess it'll have a fighting chance then, not during summer.

Saya
05-13-2009, 06:21 PM
This looks very interesting. thanks for turning me onto this, had no idea about it or the book. :)

Ryanfromindiana
05-13-2009, 06:27 PM
I've said this several times here, but Blood Meridian is McCarthy's masterpiece. GO READ IT AND REPORT BACK!!!!! heh

wofford29
05-14-2009, 06:52 AM
I've said this several times here, but Blood Meridian is McCarthy's masterpiece. GO READ IT AND REPORT BACK!!!!! heh

What isn't his masterpiece? Seriously though. I believe he's the best American author in the biz. Blood Meridian is incredible as well.

Batty
05-15-2009, 11:48 AM
Here's the trailer. Watch it in HD here (http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810037227/video/13468775).

This movie is going to be amazing. I just hope that scream (the one that's almost like the Wilhelm scream) isn't actually in the film.

<object width="450" height="242"><param name="movie" value="http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/10979"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/10979" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" width="450" height="242" allowFullScreen="true"></embed></object>

Entropy
05-15-2009, 11:56 AM
Goosebumps. It brought that punch in the gut feeling of the novel back.

Viggo is PERFECT for this film. I dearly hope he wins an Oscar for this one.

wofford29
05-15-2009, 03:10 PM
:monkey2:monkey2:monkey2

So beautiful.

karamazov80
05-15-2009, 03:14 PM
I dearly hope he wins an Oscar for this one.
Should have won for "History of Violence," IMO. Trailer is looking damn fine. I like me some bleak, apocalyptic stories with great actors.

Karma
09-03-2009, 06:24 PM
http://www.apple.com/trailers/weinstein/theroad/

Bannister
09-03-2009, 06:44 PM
http://sideshowcollectors.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57581&highlight=road

wofford29
09-03-2009, 07:37 PM
http://www.apple.com/trailers/weinstein/theroad/


http://sideshowcollectors.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57581&highlight=road

http://sideshowcollectors.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39357

Bannister
09-03-2009, 07:55 PM
http://sideshowcollectors.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39357

I wasn't even paying attention. I thought there was only one.:lol:lol:lol

wofford29
09-03-2009, 09:44 PM
I wasn't even paying attention. I thought there was only one.:lol:lol:lol

There is only one in my book:cool:

Batty
09-03-2009, 09:54 PM
Well, this doesn't sound good. :(

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940928.html?categoryid=3212&cs=1

Entropy
09-03-2009, 09:59 PM
dammit :banghead

Batty
09-03-2009, 10:10 PM
I wonder if people will like it more if they haven't read the book first.

Here's a positive review:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film-reviews/the-road-film-review-1004009191.story

wofford29
09-09-2009, 07:57 PM
Well, this doesn't sound good. :(

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940928.html?categoryid=3212&cs=1


dammit :banghead

Todd McCarthy has horrible taste in film. Don't bang your heads yet. So far it's the only negative review in a sea of positives. It's got three reported positives on rottentomatoes.com vs. this one negative and if you google reviews coming out of venice right now they are all positive.

The ill Jedi
09-09-2009, 08:03 PM
I never listen to anything reviewers have to say, I'm sure this will be very good.

The Ween
09-09-2009, 08:19 PM
It's got Viggo in it. That's enough for me!

Valfar
09-09-2009, 08:32 PM
:monkey3...



post deleted in......


Pffttt!!!!!!!

Darth Snoopy
09-10-2009, 05:05 PM
All that matters is my opinion of a movie, I'll see this movie a judge for myself. Film critics can bite me.

Batty
09-10-2009, 05:07 PM
New release date - November 25th

Voorhees27
09-10-2009, 05:16 PM
The looks really good but predictable. Still a must see for me.

DinoDB1975
11-10-2009, 03:38 PM
There's going to be a special advance screening in DC on Thursday, 11/12 at 1:00 PM with a QA session afterwards with "special guests"...cool thing is my girlfriend got passes, crappy thing is I have to work, and I've got too much on my plate to take the day off.

Darth Caedus
11-10-2009, 03:53 PM
Don't know if I can see this movie without wanting to kill myself after it's finished......

The ill Jedi
11-26-2009, 02:16 PM
Starts Tomorrow!!!

http://www.apple.com/trailers/weinstein/theroad/

Darklord Dave
11-26-2009, 08:10 PM
After reading the Variety review I have to say I disagree with just about all his comments about things that didn't work in the film. So I guess I'd have to say that if I were to write a review it would be a positive one. But for me, this film is impossible to like. I haven't read the book and have no desire to, after seeing the film, going out and slitting my wrists doesn't seem like too bad an idea.

But Viggo's performance is noteworthy as is how much the little kid looks like he could actually be Theron's child. But there's no getting around the bleakness of this film - it forces you to think - about what you would do in a similar situation and the nature of morality. And in that it succeeds on every level. But will I be buying the DVD and having parties to watch it again? ...don't think so.

The Ringer
11-26-2009, 08:11 PM
Can't wait to see this one!

The Ween
11-26-2009, 08:48 PM
After reading the Variety review I have to say I disagree with just about all his comments about things that didn't work in the film. So I guess I'd have to say that if I were to write a review it would be a positive one. But for me, this film is impossible to like. I haven't read the book and have no desire to, after seeing the film, going out and slitting my wrists doesn't seem like too bad an idea.

But Viggo's performance is noteworthy as is how much the little kid looks like he could actually be Theron's child. But there's no getting around the bleakness of this film - it forces you to think - about what you would do in a similar situation and the nature of morality. And in that it succeeds on every level. But will I be buying the DVD and having parties to watch it again? ...don't think so.

As much as I love Viggo, I won't be watching this. I don't like doom and gloom. I didn't read the book and from what I gather from this thread, I doubt I would like the movie anyway.

winter
11-27-2009, 01:31 PM
The movie was ok, but it just doesn't capture the tone of the book, which surprised me. The director's first film, The Proposal, nails the tone of the novel The Road perfectly. The music cues in this film just didn't fit and by not going to level of bleakness of the book, the reward just doesn't pay off as well. It been widely said that McCarthy's novels can't be filmed. The Cohen Brother's disproved that, but No Country for Old Men has one thing that his other novels do not and that is a great, great character. In the novel, The Road, just about every sentence is a reference or allusion to something else and how the heck do you film that? The film as it stands is ok, but it's more interested in not losing the audience than taking you to the world created by McCarthy. That said, Viggo's performance is top notch.

Darth Snoopy
11-27-2009, 08:49 PM
The book is excellent.

Gonna go see the movie tomorrow. :D

usswanker
11-28-2009, 04:17 AM
This sucks. I read the book and I have been waiting for this movie and its not playing anywhere near me.

The Ween
11-28-2009, 10:33 AM
This sucks. I read the book and I have been waiting for this movie and its not playing anywhere near me.

It's not near me anywhere either unless I want to drive over 50 miles. That's okay because I'm not going to see it anyway.

Gloooooooooomy. :(

The ill Jedi
11-30-2009, 08:48 AM
Saw this on Saturday, it is a very bleak and gloomy movie, but it is very good. They did an excellent job capturing the atmosphere of the book and Viggo was amazing as usual.

Makes me wonder what I would do if I were in a similar situation, would I fight to survive or give up all hope?

Sure it's not a party movie, but I will be watching this again.

P.S. For the Ladies, there is two instances of Viggo ass in this film. :rolleyes::D

hairlesswookiee
11-30-2009, 10:41 AM
P.S. For the Ladies, there is two instances of Viggo ass in this film. :rolleyes::D

:rock :rock thanks now I have something to sell this to my GF. She lets me watch LOTR anytime I want because she's infatuated with Viggo.

kobayashi93
11-30-2009, 11:14 AM
Totally didn't know that this was going to be a limited release. I'm not happy about it. After waiting as long as it seems I have, I suppose I can wait a week or two extra. :monkey2

wofford29
12-06-2009, 03:14 PM
Finally got to see it. 9 out of 10 for me. Great supplement to go along with the book.

The Ween
12-06-2009, 03:25 PM
Saw this on Saturday, it is a very bleak and gloomy movie, but it is very good. They did an excellent job capturing the atmosphere of the book and Viggo was amazing as usual.

Makes me wonder what I would do if I were in a similar situation, would I fight to survive or give up all hope?

Sure it's not a party movie, but I will be watching this again.

P.S. For the Ladies, there is two instances of Viggo ass in this film. :rolleyes::D

Well thanks alot! Now I'll have to buy the DVD. :D

Matt S
12-06-2009, 08:27 PM
Wanted to see this last week, but thought it was in wide release. Once it hits all markets, will definitely catch this...

wofford29
12-06-2009, 09:29 PM
Well thanks alot! Now I'll have to buy the DVD. :D

Yeah, that's not a good thing. Perhaps the dirtiest lookin' ass crack ever filmed.

The Ween
12-06-2009, 09:52 PM
Yeah, that's not a good thing. Perhaps the dirtiest lookin' ass crack ever filmed.


:lol Well, I'm sure it was supposed to be that way.

Anyhow, I'd wash it for him if I could.

I really would!!!! :D

KrisSolo
12-07-2009, 01:50 AM
:lol Well, I'm sure it was supposed to be that way.

Anyhow, I'd wash it for him if I could.

I really would!!!! :D

Oh dear God, TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!

barbelith
12-07-2009, 05:16 AM
Great supplement to go along with the book.

Good description. It's a well made film, but it doesn't tell a story. Bit of a wasted opportunity, but then again the novel is probably unfilmable.

The Ween
12-07-2009, 07:21 AM
Oh dear God, TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!


Now if Viggo was a chick and I said that, you'd say...


Oooooo that's hot! :lol

Kuzeh
12-13-2009, 11:00 PM
Wow, just saw it today...
Amazing movie IMO... very dark... but I liked it a lot...
Not a "feel good movie" mind you... :lol
But I like movies that sometimes put things in perspective...

galactiboy
12-14-2009, 08:01 AM
Saw it this weekend... really great movie. I haven't read the book, but it (and No Country) are on my list of things to read.

Wetanut
12-14-2009, 05:59 PM
Dreaded seeing the movie after I read the book. Having been one to want to slit my wrists after the book, was afraid I'd be even more depressed. No, it's not a story/plot that one can "like." Too dreadful a scenario. And I'm thinking some of the reviewers were unable to get past that and it colored their opinion.

Funnily, the movie made me view it in a different light from the book. Instead of the unremitting dark and bleakness that the book gave off, I found myself seeing it as a treatise on hope and Man's will to believe in and to nurture whatever seed exists within his core that elevated us from the animals. Couldn't shake off the blahs after the book to see that aspect. Still not a film I'd like to see again, but am glad I saw it.

What weakness there was in the film was the same that was in the book....a bit too convenient with the deus ex machina. Viggo's performance was outstanding and the kid was excellent.

maskfreak
12-15-2009, 07:07 AM
Saw it yesterday. Great film. Puts everything in perspective. Should scoop up some awards. I liked the simplicity of the story. No major special effects or outlandish situations. Probably the most realistic apocalyptic movie ever made. I can see people behaving that way in that situation. Scariest part was the
house on the hill scene.
Next time someone complains about their dinner, make them watch this movie.

DarthNeil
01-12-2010, 01:15 PM
I've been home sick from work with a bad case of the stomach flu-- but at least I've had the opportunity to get caught up on some movie watching... Wow. Viggo was phenomenal... and as a father I'm going to hug my kids with all my might when they get home.

Powerful film.

uscmhicks
01-12-2010, 01:17 PM
Great to hear so many great reviews on this. Can't wait to see it.

meth head
01-12-2010, 01:23 PM
yeah me 2 i am itching to see this, got trashed early on by the critics but glad to see the film has fought back! it certainly looks awesome on the trailer and cant wait to see it this weekend

meth head
01-12-2010, 01:25 PM
read a great article about this film in either my empire mag or total film saying viggo literally lived like a tramp to create that realistic look, he slept in his clothes and would stand in the cold and wet instead of being sheltered with the crew. How fantastic is that, i just thought wow thats chartacter acting for you!

Mesa
01-12-2010, 02:56 PM
when does this come out on DVD. I can't find it at a Red Box or at Best buy.

wofford29
01-12-2010, 03:59 PM
yeah me 2 i am itching to see this, got trashed early on by the critics but glad to see the film has fought back! it certainly looks awesome on the trailer and cant wait to see it this weekend

It reviewed great with critics. The very first review called it one of the most important movies ever made.


when does this come out on DVD. I can't find it at a Red Box or at Best buy.

It won't hit until at least April, probably later.

Captain Spidey
01-12-2010, 04:11 PM
Read the book. Really good. Looking forward to the movie.

The Ween
01-12-2010, 04:29 PM
Isn't my Viggo just awesome? :D

meth head
01-12-2010, 04:34 PM
[QUOTE=wofford29;2237059]It reviewed great with critics. The very first review called it one of the most important movies ever made.

It didnt at all! The guy from Variety magazine somebody McCarthy actually ha ha absolutely trashed it and it received some very bad reviews by others right at the get go, read Hillcoats interview in one of my film mags

carbo-fation
01-12-2010, 04:35 PM
Great movie. Viggo did a great job.

meth head
01-12-2010, 04:37 PM
i believe this was the first review

The Road
By TODD MCCARTHY

Read other reviews about this film
Powered By MRQE Review

'The Road'
Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are two for 'The Road.'
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Go Fandango!
A Dimension Films release presented with 2929 Prods. of a Nick Wechsler and Chockstone Pictures production. Produced by Wechsler, Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz. Executive producers, Todd Wagner, Mark Cuban, Marc Butan, Rudd Simmons. Directed by John Hillcoat. Screenplay, Joe Penhall, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy.

The Man - Viggo Mortensen
The Boy - Kodi Smit-McPhee
Wife - Charlize Theron
Old Man - Robert Duvall
The Veteran - Guy Pearce
Veteran's Wife - Molly Parker
The Thief - Michael K. Williams
The Gang Member - Garret Dillahunt

This "Road" leads nowhere. If you're going to adapt a book like Cormac McCarthy's 2006 bestseller, you're pretty much obliged to make a terrific film or it's not worth doing -- first because expectations are high, and second, because the picture needs to make it worth people's while to sit through something so grim. Except for the physical aspects of this bleak odyssey by a father and son through a post-apocalyptic landscape, this long-delayed production falls dispiritingly short on every front. Showing clear signs of being test-screened and futzed with to death, the Dimension release may receive a measure of respect in some quarters but is very, very far from the film it should have been, spelling moderate to tepid B.O. prospects after big fest preems.

Even more than "No Country for Old Men," with which the Coen brothers showed what is possible artistically and commercially with a McCarthy novel onscreen, "The Road" reads extremely cinematically. Filled almost entirely by spare but vivid physical descriptions of a decimated United States in its death throes after an unexplained catastrophe, and with limited dialogue, the book serves up images and tense situations that practically leap from the page as potential movie scenes.

Some things were obvious: The film's style needed to be as terse, exacting, stripped-down, tough and precise as McCarthy's prose style. The picture also should have been shocking, haunting and, at the end, deeply moving. As it is, director John Hillcoat ("The Proposition") and lenser Javier Aguirresarobe have come up with some arresting scorched-earth vistas captured on locations in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Oregon, but have missed the bigger picture almost entirely.

It's a survival story in the most elemental possible way, as an unnamed man and boy, about 11, trudge daily through a dark world of barren forests with falling trees, torched towns and vandalized stores, empty roads and depleted fields, in search of food and shelter, all the while taking care to avoid roving gangs searching for defenseless humans to be turned into slaves or, more likely, dinner.

The man (Viggo Mortensen) has a revolver with two bullets in it, then only one. As far too many flashbacks of his pre-catastrophe life reveal, he's not a military or survivalist type, and he had a gorgeous wife (Charlize Theron) until she couldn't stand it anymore and took off. But his love for his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has made him resourceful and resolute despite the utter lack of long-term prospects, and he continually responds to the youngster's despairing questions with answers that insist upon perseverance.

For reasons that remain unclear even after they arrive there, they are walking toward the sea, and dreadful sights abound along the way: skeletons, rotting bodies, naked prisoners locked in dark basements like animals to be butchered (the book's two most ghastly images have been dispensed with, however). Occasionally, they chance upon an abandoned house with a stock of canned food (Coca-Cola has no problem surviving the apocalypse), clean blankets and clothes.

The drama is one little genre step away from being an outright zombie movie, something that's much more evident onscreen, with its drooling, crusty-toothed aggressors and live humans with missing limbs; memories of "Night of the Living Dead" unavoidably advance in all the scenes in which the man and boy take refuge in a house, where they must contend with unfriendly marauders.

But Hillcoat, who played with heavy violence in "The Proposition" and made some of it stick, shows no talent for or inclination toward setting up a scene here; any number of sequences in "The Road" could have been very suspenseful if built up properly, but Hillcoat, working from a script by Joe Penhall, just hopscotches from scene to scene in almost random fashion without any sense of pacing or dramatic modulation.

Dialogue that should have been directed with an almost Pinteresque sense of timing is delivered without meaningful shadings, principally by two actors who have no chemistry together. Unfortunately, Mortensen lacks the gravitas to carry the picture; suddenly resembling Gabby Hayes with his whiskers and wayward hair, the actor has no bottom to him, and his interactions with Smit-McPhee, whom one can believe as Theron's son but not Mortensen's, never come alive. Tellingly, both thesps are better in their individual scenes with other actors; Mortensen gets into it with Robert Duvall, who plays an old coot met along the road, while Smit-McPhee registers a degree of rapport with Guy Pearce, practically unrecognizable at first as another wanderer. Generally, the boy's readings are blandly on the nose.

Scraps of narration by Mortensen seem like unnecessary afterthoughts, while the preponderance of scenes featuring the wife is explainable only because Theron's presence needed to be justified by more screen time. Score by longtime Hillcoat collaborator Nick Cave and Warren Ellis borders on the treacly, softening the tone and further conventionalizing a film that should have gone the other direction toward something harsh and daring.

Camera (Technicolor, widescreen), Javier Aguirresarobe; editor, Jon Gregory; music, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis; production designer, Chris Kennedy; art director, Gershon Ginsburg; set decorator, Robert Greenfield; costume designer, Margot Wilson; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Edward Tise; sound designer, Leslie Shatz; supervising sound editor, Robert Jackson; re-recording mixers, Todd Beckett, Chris David; assistant director, John Nelson; additional editor, Craig Wood; casting, Francine Maisler. Reviewed at Sunset screening room, West Hollywood, Aug. 27, 2009. (In Venice Film Festival -- competing; Telluride Film Festival; Toronto Film Festival -- Special Presentations.) MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 110 MIN.

wofford29
01-12-2010, 07:31 PM
The first review was by Esquire below, which was originally published back in June. The movie reviewed great and is still reviewed great sitting at 74% at rottentomatoes.com. What you're probably referencing are the early screenings before the film was done. Those didn't go over to well.
http://www.esquire.com/features/movies/the-road-movie-review-0609

The Ringer
01-12-2010, 07:59 PM
This movie was done tremendously well IMO. It was a bit gloomy but there were a few spots of light within it.

KrisSolo
01-13-2010, 03:03 AM
Great movie IMO, very faithful to the book. Well acted and realised.