Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Road

  After reviewing Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises I have decided to delve into my back catologue of film stubs and look at The Road, which I saw at the Century about this time last year. It of course stars Mortensen hence my decision to look at this film.
 It is based on a Pulitzer prize winning novel which I have never heard of and not read. It is on the forever growing to read list. Like so many films that I want to see there are just as many books I wish to read. Apparantly it is a very bleak book and believe me the film is extremely bleak. But is a beautiful bleak. It is somewhat fitting that I follow my review of Hellboy with this film because both are stunning visually to watch. The Road will take your breath away in its bleak, colourless rendering of an unspecified apocalypse.
 The story revolves around a man taking his young son south in an attempt to find a warmer climate as the earth quickly coldens around them. They must avoid bands of armed men that capture people to eat. As the earth is so cold nothing grows and they fed on other human beings. There is a harrowing scene where Mortensen finds a house with a basement full of humans that are slowly being eaten.
 It is a unique film in that right throughout the characters are never called by name. It stems from the book, and adds a surreal air of it all being the end as nothing will be the same again, and individuals become insignifcant compared to the events around them. It is a small thing but adds impact to the film.
 This is a film that you will walk out of going 'thank god I'm alive'. Bleak is the key word here, but never do you feel like leaving the theatre. I have never seen a film that has so portrayed a post-apocalyptic earth as this one has. The uniqeness is that almost all films with this subjet are zombie films. This hasn't any zombies and in our world of global warming it is closer to reality and the more chilling for it. Basically it is about the end of the world whilst portraying the human desire to keep on living.
The Road is one of those film that will stay with you for well after you have seen it. For me it is because of the starkness of a world at its end. Buildings are collapsed and rotted, there is no colour, nothing is growing, quite simply civilisation is at an end. And this film depicts it better than anything like it before. The recent I Am Legend, and The Book of Eli ( whose post nuclear war wastelands were excellent) just don't quite pull it off.
 In The Road you can physically feel it, and it scares, and then bewilders you because at the back of your mind you know it could happen. But what makes it work is the feeling of total delsolation. A good scene towards the end sees Mortensen swimming out to a beached ship in the hope of finding food. The ship is so real and yet so final that the viewer can't help but feel that ulimately their quest to survive is futile.
 I can not possibly stress the visual impact of this film. To see it on the small screen is to take away its impact. It has plot but its real story in the visualness of a dying planet. It is an incredible film to behold. Scary in a way no horror can possibly be, because it is within the realms of possibility.
  Mortensen is at his best and probably better here than in Eastern promises. Playing a man attempting to keep his son alive against all hope has shown his range as an actor. Charlize Theron has a small part as the boys mother who gives up hope and kills herself. Robert Duvall plays a dying man. The under rated Guy Pearce also has a small role, and the young boy is well played. But for me this Mortensen's film.
 See it, and marvel in some of the most harrowing and yet most beautiful apocalyptic images ever put onto celluloid. An absolute masterpice of visual film making.
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  1. Can't agree more! This was a great film. It never came to theaters in CT.

  2. A really good film. It was briliant on the big screen. Amazing how much colour there was from so much bleakness. Visually stunning film.