Monday, November 30, 2009

The Road

Movie name: The Road
Year of release: 2008
Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker, Garret Dillahunt
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis:Following the adaptations of "All the Pretty Horses" directed by Billy Bob Thornton and "No Country for Old Men" directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, Cormac McCarthy sees another of his books adapted to the big screen. "The Road" directed by John Hillcoat follows the lives of a father and a son, in a post-apocalyptic scenario as they move towards the ocean in hopes of finding food and a safe haven. The father and son work as a unit, with the father desperately trying to protect his child from the despair that surrounds them, from the lack of food, to lurking menaces from other groups of people they encounter, to nature itself. The world is slowly dying and these characters are fighting to retain their humanity. The film portrays the end of days in a very somber and dark tone, starting with the look and feel the director chose. The cinematography is dark and greyish, the mix of digital effects is well done and does not unbalance the true core of the film, which is the relationship and dynamics between the father and son. John Hillcoat chooses to balance the grim reality with the colorless tones, with the flashbacks over saturated with color, where the mother is alive and where reality seems as if though it is a dream (heaven-like). Viggo Mortensen does a wonderful job portraying a man for whom his child is his world - he breathes and lives for the safety of that human being, who is an extension of himself. His pain, his hunger is all too apparent in his eyes, let alone in his emaciated body. Kodi Smit-McPhee does a good job portraying a terrified child who tries to escape the desperation that surrounds him by reaching out to the people he sees and meets on his path. Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall also make strong impressions in their brief moments, adding a richness to the story. The film falters in moments where a necessary progression and dramatic tension should be more prominent, but it manages to create an environment and add depth to it's main characters that definitely hold you. A trip worth taking!