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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

THE ROAD

By D.E.Levine

Director: John Hillcoat
Writers: Joe Penhall (adaption and screenplay), Cormac McCarthy (book)
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robefrt Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker, Michael K. Williams, Garret Dillahunt, Charlize Theron, Bob Jennings, Agnes Herrmann, Budy Sosthand, Kirk Brown, Jack Erdie, David August Lindauer, Gina Preciado, Mary Rawson
Producers: Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz and Nick Wechsler
Executive Producers: Marc Butan, Mark Cuban, Rudd Simmons and Todd Wagner
Co-producer: Erik Hodge
Original Music: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Running Time: 112 Minues
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Drama

This is definitely the most depressing film I've seen this year. Taken from Cormac McCarthy's novel which is full physical descriptions of the United States after an unexplained catastrophe, the film is bleak and depressing. It focuses on the journey of a father and his son as they journey south towards the coast after his wife abandons them and chooses to die alone outside in the woods.

As the earth continues to erupt and the crust breaks, barren trees topple over, fires break out, extreme cold incapacitates them, and they are hunted by men and women who have turned to cannibalism because of the endless hunger due to lack of crops and food.

The father has a revolver with two bullets in it, one for himself and one for his son. He plans to end their suffering if the worst happens and they are unable to fight off predators or find food.

The film is filled with flashbacks to life with his wife before and after the birth of their baby. Memories are triggered by small and big things alike. Finding a piano that hasn't been destroyed triggers the memory of playing the piano with his wife and then chopping it up for fire wood.

McCarthy's novel was mesmerizing but Hillcoat's film is bleak, dull and lacking in suspense. There is nothing to propel the story forward, instead the episodic telling of the tale is carefully paced.

The film is basically the tale about the relationship of a dying father and his innocent son, who sees good in everyone and several times ventures into situations where they could get killed. As the father struggles to stay alive and care for the boy, he also struggles to give the boy some values but is unable to explain why he and the boy are "the good guys" while the others are "the bad buys."

It is only during the last few minutes of the film that the action and the actors give the viewer an emotional jolt that validates the film.