The Road is the best post-apocalyptic film ever made. It is definitely one of the best movies of 2009, and it had no huge special effects, there was no blowing up of national monuments, and no supernatural elements to help move the story forward. This film was dark, dirty, and disturbingly real. If there was an event that wiped out most of the human race, this is what I imagine it would be like, and you know what? As scary as it was, it left me with a strong feeling of overwhelming happiness.
The movie is based off of the novel by Cormac Mccarthy and it takes you on a journey following a father and his son after an apocalyptic event hat is never described, and no one ever talks about it, which only strengthens the story that is being told. We finally get a movie that has an actual story, and is not a showcase of how the world is destroyed. The story takes place over a period of several months as the two main characters walk across an unforgiving landscape that was utterly devastated by the unknown cataclysm event. Most of life on earth has been erased from existence. Most of the people that have survived have resorted to thoughtless violence and cannibalism for food. The father and son have to protect themselves from these people and fight like hell to stay alive. The goal of the father and son is to make it to the coast in hopes to find other "good people" like them, and a chance for survival.
The setting for the film is extremely bleak and depressing. Everything about it is like a bad nightmare; it has that same creepy vibe as Silent Hill only this was more realistic. The boy in the film was born after the horrific event that destroyed the world, and he grew up in this environment, he didn’t know what life was like before. The grey sunless world is all he knows.
The story is not meant to horrify you, although it gives you a sense of the relentless brutal environment these two characters are forced to survive in. It’s a story that is extremely profound and optimistic. There is an enduring hope. The film made me think about all of the things I have in my life that I take for granted. It is definitely an eye opener. The father and son in the film are the perfect example of keeping the spirit of humanity alive in a world gone to hell. They repeatedly assure one another that they are "the good guys," and that they "carry the fire."
This movie is also a very strong adaptation of the book. There are some differences between the movie and the book, but the important thing is that the spirit of the book carried over to the film. If you’ve read the book and you liked it then I think you are going to be able to appreciate the movie.
Viggo Mortensen as The Man was absolutely incredible. His character will do anything to protect his son, even kill him if he has to. The Boy is the fathers anchor; he is the only reason why Mortensen’s character is carrying on. The Boy is all that matters "The child is my warrant," he says "And if he is not the word of God, then God never spoke." Mortensen was incredibly intense and his emotions filled the screen with painful determined glory. I would love to see him nominated for an Oscar in this role!
Kodi Smit-McPhee as the boy did a wonderful job. It is such and dark and intense role for an 11-year old to play, but being the age that he is, he did great. He offered a genuine childlike reaction to this world of ash. It is the boy who is really carrying the fire, he represents humanity in every way a person can. The film and the weight of everything going on around him rests on his shoulders.
The ending of the film was so uplifting and hopeful that I couldn’t help but get all choked up after seeing what these poor people have gone through. I can only strengthen our faith in each other. The end of the world has been discussed among civilizations for quite some time now. This film made me believe that if the world was going to be demolished, no matter how it all goes down, that we are going to be okay. That spirit of humanity will live on.
The Road is the most meaningful thought-provoking film you will see all year.