© Senator/Central

The Road
U.S.A. 2009

Opening 7 Oct 2010

Directed by: John Hillcoat
Writing credits: Cormac McCarthy, Joe Penhall
Principal actors: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker

A father (Viggo Mortensen) and his small son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) trudge southwards down the dusty road. The world as we know it disappeared several years ago. There are no plants, animals or food; the sun is dark; no bird tweets; skeletons lie where their owners fell. The landscape is raw, pockmarked with wrecks of automobiles and houses, signs of a past civilization. The few survivors, like our two characters, both avoid and rob each other, whichever solution enables survival. A band of barbarians attacks them; they discover a hidden stash of canned food which sustains them for a whole month. The father preaches the good of humanity in an inhumane world and occasionally, even his goodness is stretched to the limit. There is little opportunity for a ray of hope which might cut the monotony. In the end the constellation has changed but not the impossibility of a positive future, unless you think that a house pet added to the group might be a sign of God.

In the long list of apocalypse films, e.g., The Book of Eli, 2012, etc., not to mention the series of Terminator, Mad Max, or Resident Evil, this film does not stand out. It is based on the bestseller of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, which might be the problem as the book also suffered from sameness. Director John Hillcoat probably did the best he could, but he had little to work with. The same is true for the good actors who are up to the job, but are stuck with a repetitious, uninteresting script – a story which could be told in ten minutes. (Becky Tan)

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