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The Road movie poster

The Road: Movie Review

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R
Directed by:
John Hillcoat
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, and Robert Duvall
Released by: Dimension Films

In Short: This searing, brutal cinematic adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel about the end of civilization is one of the best films of 2009.

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Everyone Needs to Get on “The Road”

"The Road" is one of the scariest, most emotionally upsetting films ever made, and it is not a horror flick. No, this one is all too real, and if Al Gore and the world's smartest scientists are correct, it is not that far removed from reality.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy, John Hillcoat's film is an extremely bleak look at the death of civilization after an apocalyptic environmental breakdown of the earth.

Viggo Mortensen stars in an Oscar shoo-in performance as a father trying to protect his young son from the terrors of the world. The two are walking across the blighted American landscape from north to south, inland to the coast, in an attempt to find warmer weather and perhaps some food and other "good people" still alive as well.

The Road - Viggo Mortensen The Road

But the landscape they travel is fraught with dangers, all resulting from the other humans that have survived the holocaust. For many they encounter have devolved into horrifically animalistic behavior, including cannibalism, and those roving gangs of flesh-eating men are to be avoided at all costs. Father and son are constantly at risk, and we feel their fear like it is our own.

But mostly it is a stark, empty world that the pair makes their way across, with only each other for comfort and support. The boy, beautifully played by Australian newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee, is an innocent whose view of the future is completely shaped by his father's strength of will. Convincing his boy that there is going to be a life worth living takes everything the father has, and as the two keep fighting for survival, he struggles to maintain any hope at all.

"The Road" is an intense, emotional, searing look at a future that is not very hard to imagine, a brilliant film that every thinking person should make sure to see, despite its tough subject matter. It will stay with you for days, and make you think yet again about how to keep our planet safe from an ecological catastrophe, for the alternative is not pretty at all.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

Updated: (02/10/10 AR)

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