The Road (2009)

The Road is a 2009 post-apocalyptic film starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-Mcphee as characters that do not even have names. Referred to as just “The Man,” and “The Boy” respectively, largely due to the fact that names no longer matter, The Road tells a tale of the most basic human instincts; survival. Based on Cormac McCarthy‘s book of the same name, The Road is, in a sense, a realistic travel log about how the world would look after some sort of disaster that puts an end to things as they are now.

Not knowing what the disaster was is something that really is representative of the entire film. Nothing really is ever explained in great detail, leaving the viewer wondering what really is going on in the world shown on screen. This isn’t a bad thing, as it allows the film to continue being incredibly bleak, but it makes me wonder why the film needed to have voice-over work done by “The Man.” It seems that a lot of effort went into making the setting ambiguous, so having “The Man” explain a lot of it just seems out of place. This dialogue does allow you to connect with him on a more personal level.

The lead characters actually make a good contrast to one another. “The Man” is the one who is most worried about surviving, while “The Boy” is a character who feels responsible for the rest of the world, not just himself. Pretty much every time a character comes across the pair, “The Man” wishes to keep moving, and ignore the other traveler, while his son wishes to help them by offering clothing or food, something they never seem to have enough of.

In fact, the majority of the film is more or less the father-son duo looking around deserted buildings for supplies. Most of the time, they find very little or even nothing at all. The film really makes you feel for what these characters are going through. However, when the characters are put in dangerous situations, the sudden shift in tone really amps up the excitement and tension of the movie. The gravity of these scenes is really felt, as is the world that is built around them.

A bleak depiction of a post-apocalyptic world is what The Road has to offer, and that might not be something many people want to see.

The Road really isn’t a happy film. It’s bleak and depressing, for the most part at least. The skies are grey, the sea is grey and the forests are grey. Practically everything shown on screen is grey, apart from a singular Coca-cola can that the two find. The sense of dread, that they are alone in the world is also prominently featured. The pair really only have each other to rely on. Apart from that, they really do have nothing.

This relationship is brought across quite well by the actors. Viggo Mortensen especially plays his part really well. His blinders are set on surviving and protecting his son. That’s more or less all there is to his character. He’ll stop at nothing to accomplish either task, and Viggo shows that in almost every scene. Kodi Smit-Mcphee’s character, on the other hand, wants to help out the entire world. Unable to do this, he continually questions the nature of life. His acting job wasn’t nearly as good as Viggo’s, but it fit the character that he was playing. The supporting cast, few as they were, was decent whenever they appeared on the screen. Charlize Theron appeared in flashbacks throughout the film, and while she showed little emotion, it fit her character’s current state of mind. Robert Duvall also shows up at one point during the film, providing one of the better cameos in recent memory.

Even though not all that much happens for the majority of the film, it stays entertaining to watch. Looking at the struggle that the two lead characters have to go through just to survive really is something to marvel at. The relationship between the two characters drives the film, with “The Man” being a character more or less looking just to survive, while his son is looking for hope in a world that doesn’t offer much. A bleak depiction of a post-apocalyptic world is what The Road has to offer, and that might not be something many people want to see. It’s a hard film to watch at times. It shows how the world may very well end up some day, and it isn’t a place that you wouldn’t want to be a part of, let alone raising a child in.

Conclusion: The Road is a bleak movie, but it’s a good on.

Recommendation: The Road is an interesting enough movie to recommend watching.

Rating: ***1/2

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