Tuesday, December 29, 2009

THE ROAD (2009)

Written by Joe Penhall

Directed by John Hillcoat

Where & When: Beverly Center 13, Los Angeles, CA. December 29, 2009 2:30PM

I was watching "The Road" today and as the movie went on, I just kept thinking to myself, "Some one actually thought that this story would make a great film and people would actually be entertained."

I know this project is based on the Oprah's book club pick and the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Cormac McCarthy and although I haven't read it, I'm sure it works very well as a book but does it really as a film?

We begin sometime in the near future when the world has suffered some unexplained catastrophe which has killed off all wildlife, vegetation and most of mankind. There are very few human survivors left and we meet two of them: one man (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). No one in this story is referred to by any given names and although I'm sure they have them, they are no longer of any importance anymore.

The man and his boy are traveling, using an old map, on foot in search of possible food and warmer weather. They are cold, dirty, wearing rags and have a gun with two bullets left to use either for protection or to end their lives if the situation ever warrants it. They are also very hungry or to be more accurate: starving. They spend each day moving forward and searching in vain for any possible thing left to eat.

They are also avoiding other survivors who are also searching for food but they are surviving by resorting to cannibalism. These people are "bad guys" as explained by the man to his young son and they are the "good guys". The man assures his son that they will never do that, no matter how hungry they are.

Throughout the journey, the man dreams of life before the apocalypse, when he was happily married to his wife (Charlize Theron). We discover that the wife also survived and was pregnant with their son who was born after the destruction of the Earth. As time goes on, the wife loses her will to live and wishes she hadn't brought their child into this nightmare. The man and his son soon reach their destination but are disappointed to find that the situation is no better or different in what used to be California. The man is now not feeling well and is coughing up blood. Now that they have arrived, what will they do now and how will they survive without losing what's left of their humanity?

"The Road" is dark, bleak and and it is not entertaining in any shape or form. It left me feeling very sad, depressed and exhausted. Since there are hardly any light moments in this film, it make each new obstacle that they have to struggle through just simply unbearable. The performances by Mr. Mortensen and Mr. Smit-McPhee are really good but it's unfortunate that it's all wasted in this misfire of a film. The script by Mr. Penhall is genuinely well written and I don't know how the book ended but knowing how Hollywood operates, I'm sure it was altered. The ending of this film just felt wrong and false. I'm sure I've made it very clear of what I thought of this film, so I know I need to read the book to really see how wrong this film actually went.