Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall. Directed by John Hillcoat
Rated MA 15+ (strong themes and violence). 112 mins.
This is a beautifully made film which offers so much to reflect on. It is a pity that it won't appeal to a wide audience who may not be attracted by its post-apocalyptic scenario, by its grim quest as a surviving father and son make for the coast. They pass though quake-upheavaled terrain, scorched earth, frozen earth, barren earth,bare and collapsing trees, desolate landscapes, deserted homes, shopping centres, cities, with marauding and cruel gangs, odd straggling strangers, starving, searching for food – with minimal glimmers of hope. The special effects and locations for the earth and the quakes are more than credible with filming in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oregon and Mt St Helens.
The photography by Javier Aguirresaroba is outstanding. The score is by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Fine direction is by John Hillcoat (Ghosts of the Civil Dead, To Have and To Hold, The Proposal).
The Road makes its audience ask themselves what they might do in these circumstances, how they would think, how they would feell, want to survive or not, how they would cope with vicious humans and with needy human beings. Some God questions are raised in this adaptation by playwright, Joe Penhall, form the novel by Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country for Old Men.
In the last decade Viggo Mortensen has excelled in Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, a versatile, persuasive and humane performer. His presence as the loving and protective father gives The Road great strength. The boy, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Romulus, My Father) is good as the son who has known only this devastated world and his memories of his mother (Charlize Theron effective as a tormented, depressed survivor).
There is Robert Duvall at his best in a short telling role as an old man wandering the roads, just about surviving.
A fine film, regrettably not going to be seen as many as it should be.
Icon Out January 28
Icon Out January 28
Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.