Film Review: 'The Road' (2010)

‘The Road’ is the latest of Cormac McCarthy’s novels to reach the big screen, and boy is it every bit as bleak as the book.

I first read ‘The Road’ back in 2008 after I heard an interview with one of the ‘Fallout 3’ ‘s lead designers talking about how the novel had inspired the landscape of the game. As I’ve said before I’m fascinated with the post-apocalyptical tale and being such a ‘Fallout’ fan this was a book I looked forward to reading. I loved the book, but found it difficult to read because of the style, originally I thought that was a technique to go with the story – you know, everything we thought and understood is gone and now it’s about survival – but then I read ‘No Country for Old Men’, which is in exactly the same style and while I think Roddy Doyle does it better I didn’t find the style as frustrating as some have found.

Arriving on the big screen largely intact, the role of the Woman has been expanded upon in a way that doesn’t feel out of place, ‘The Road’ is visually startling with it’s bleak, forgotten and broken landscapes and takes a tight hold and promises a very uncertain ride. It’s hard to find hope in a place where hope no longer exists and no matter how hard you want the Man and the Boy to find safety, comfort, anything, you know that in this world it isn’t going to happen. In fact, the scene where the Man and the Boy discuss how to commit suicide might just haunt for me a good long time.

I wasn’t a huge fan of ‘No Country for Old Men’, I didn’t find it a very interesting film as, like the book, it didn’t go anywhere or have a particularly interesting story/characters (looked pretty though) so I was initially sceptical when I heard that ‘The Road’ was being adapted for screen but Joe Penhall did an outstanding job with the script, and Javier Aguirresarobe shot the film beautifully. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee give stellar performances as the Man and the Boy, as does Charlize Theron as the Woman. The rest of the cast are brilliant and should be complimented on being able to bring some of the more unpleasant characters to haunting life.

If you’re a fan of the novel then you should watch this film, if you’re a fan of the post-apocalyptical tale then this is the film you should see, if you’re looking for a life-assuring happy tale then really, don’t.

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