Sunday, 12 December 2010

Film Review: THE ROAD (2009)

Director: John Hillcoat
Running time: 111 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK Release date: 8th January 2010

Watched on DVD Sunday 12th December 2010.


Having recently read the novel on which this film is based by Cormac McCarthy I thought it was time to dust off the DVD and give it a spin. I wasn’t disappointed; this is an excellent adaptation of the book. Yes there are bits missed out and there are bits added, but at the end of the day a direct translation of the book to the screen my just have been too much for some. But I digress, here’s a very brief summary before I tell you more of my thoughts (summary haters please mind the cart while I write the next paragraph).

A man and his boy are wandering an ash covered and devastated America. Some disaster has killed almost all life, leaving just a few people to get by as best they can. To some this means cannibalism and so the pair must be very wary of anyone they meet. The majority they come across along the road are not to be trusted, but there are still one or two “good guys” left. We are also told, in flashback, of how the boy was born into this world and what happened to his mother, but I’m not going to tell you that here. They are headed south to the coast where they hope it will be warmer and life will be easier. I really don’t want to say any more, it’s better if you watch it for yourselves.

I’ll admit that reading the book depressed me slightly, it’s a harrowing tale at best and I was very interested to see how it would translate to the big screen. John Hillcoat did a great job, the sense of desolation came across perfectly and this was helped by the use of real locations rather than relying on CGI. Great performances all round, especially from; Viggo Mortensen as the man, Kodi Smit-McPhee as the boy, Robert Duvall as the Old Man, Guy Pearce as the Veteran, Michael K. Williams as the Thief and Charlize Theron as the woman.

As I said at the beginning, some bits of the novel were left out and other bits were added. I felt that this enhanced the story, for instance, there is very little about the boy’s mother in the book but a great deal in the film. This gives the audience a better understanding of the timeline and also a sense of the enormity of the catastrophe. I very much enjoyed this film and I feel it’s one that will stay with me for some time. If you haven’t read the book I can definitely recommend it to you, as I can highly recommend this film.

My score: 8.6/10

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