The Road Reviews

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Tom Huddlestone
Time Out
January 8, 2010
Hillcoat's movie is a resounding triumph. Stunning landscape photography sets the melancholy mood, and Nick Cave's wrenching score reinforces it. But it is the performances that ultimately hold the film together.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Sam Adams
Los Angeles Times
December 2, 2009
Hillcoat certainly provides the requisite seriousness, but what the movie lacks is an underlying sense of innocence, a sense that, however far humanity has sunk, there is at least some chance of rising again.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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A.O. Scott
At the Movies
November 30, 2009
It hits a few tinny, sentimental notes. Still, I admire the craft and conviction of this film, and I was impressed enough by the look and the performances to recommend that you see it.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
November 29, 2009
In this haunting portrait of America as no country for old men or young, Hillcoat -- through the artistry of Mortensen and Smit-McPhee -- carries the fire of our shared humanity and lets it burn bright and true.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 29, 2009
How could anything so bleak be so promising?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 29, 2009
You hang on to yourself for dear life, resisting belief as best you can in the face of powerful acting, persuasive filmmaking and the perversely compelling certainty that nothing will turn out all right.
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
November 26, 2009
Is the film too grim? Or not grim enough? In a perverse way, I fear it's both.
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Eric D. Snider
Film.com
November 25, 2009
This year's entry in the Movies You Admire and Respect but Don't Ever Want to Watch Again Sweepstakes.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
November 25, 2009
The most arresting aspect of The Road is just how fully the filmmakers have realized this bleak, blighted landscape of a modern society reduced to savagery.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
November 25, 2009
The Road possesses undeniable sweep and a grim kind of grandeur, but it ultimately plays like a zombie movie with literary pretensions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 25, 2009
Zombieland was the same movie with laughs, but if you take away the comedy, what is left? Nothing, on a vast scale.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
November 25, 2009
Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning, Oprah-endorsed, post-apocalyptic survivalist prose poem... was a quick, lacerating read. John Hillcoat's literal adaptation is, by contrast, a long, dull slog.
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
November 25, 2009
This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is intense and, yes, depressing -- and earns every minute that it rattles inside your head.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Dana Stevens
Slate
November 25, 2009
Unless you're far better at walling yourself off from identification than I am, you walk out in a state of untreated shock. Rather than thinking about the movie afterward, you wait for it to wear off.
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
November 25, 2009
My, but it's been a fine year for Armageddon.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 25, 2009
Mortensen warms the film with his presence, creating a vivid portrait of a bereft man clinging to the one thing he has left.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
November 25, 2009
The Road -- centered by Mortensen's typically physical but tempered performance -- is hard to watch. But it could have been much harder. Hillcoat isn't doing opera here, he's doing tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
November 25, 2009
This is a willfully, skillfully crafted film with insufficient heart to the task it undertakes. It never fully connects us to love amid its ruins.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 25, 2009
The Road, a tremulous heartbreaker onscreen, has successfully made the leap despite an unthinkable amount of fidelity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
November 25, 2009
Hillcoat gives [the postapocalypse] an unnerving solidity by focusing on the drab details of survival and linking them to the more hellish aspects of modern American life.
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
November 25, 2009
The Road can be a tough slog, but the journey is a rewarding one.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
November 24, 2009
What we've been given is no more than a reasonable facsimile, an honorable attempt at filming an unfilmable book.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 24, 2009
John Milton described hell as "darkness visible." That is the grim, mesmerizing world that director John Hillcoat creates here.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
November 24, 2009
While the film is not as resonant as the novel, it is an honorable adaptation, capturing the essence of the bond between father and son.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
November 24, 2009
... what remains of 'The Road' is an honorable failure, given there was never any real hope of translating McCarthy's style-driven novel into film.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 24, 2009
In adapting this harsh, unyielding book for the screen, Hillcoat and screenwriter Joe Penhall pull their punches the slightest degree and thus too much.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
November 24, 2009
Hillcoat gives the film a remarkably evocative backdrop, but the drama lacks depth and dimension, and the scenes tend to blur together.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 24, 2009
The Road has the signposts of an important film, but it lacks the diversions of an inviting trip.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 24, 2009
I cannot think of another film this year that has stayed with me, its images of dread and fear -- and yes, perhaps hope -- kicking around like such a terrible dream.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
November 24, 2009
The Road, for all its vivid desolation, remains a curiously unmoving experience.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 24, 2009
Viggo Mortensen plays "The Man" (in the anonymous, Everyman sense, not in the "Stick it to the..." blaxploitation sense). Charlize Theron is "Wife." Kodi Smit-McPhee is "The Boy." And I'm The Audience, and I'm annoyed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
November 24, 2009
Already, Hillcoat's film has divided critics on the international festival circuit. The one constant is the praise, rightly so, for Mortensen.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Miami Herald
November 24, 2009
Like McCarthy's book, The Road is dark, bleak and nightmarish but also stirring and beautiful and optimistic: As long as life remains, the movie argues, there is always hope.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 23, 2009
The movie The Road is nowhere close to its literary sire, but it's probably the best one could hope for from a movie version.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jake Coyle
Associated Press
November 23, 2009
Adapting a masterpiece such as The Road is a thankless task, but the film doesn't work on its own merits.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
November 16, 2009
Evocative as it is, The Road comes up short, not because it's bleak but because it's monotonous, and because McCarthy's vision is finally as inflexible as his patriarchal hero's.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 15, 2009
The Road evokes the images and the characters of Cormac McCarthy's novel. It is powerful, but for me lacks the same core of emotional feeling. I'm not sure this is any fault of the filmmakers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
September 16, 2009
Viggo Mortensen gives the performance of his career in the faithfully rendered film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's heartbreaking apocalyptic novel The Road.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 14, 2009
The two principals are superb, and the direction is resonant in its very restraint.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
September 3, 2009
Director John Hillcoat has performed an admirable job of bringing Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to the screen as an intact and haunting tale, even at the cost of sacrificing color, big scenes and standard Hollywood imagery.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 3, 2009
Except for the physical aspects of this bleak odyssey by a father and son through a post-apocalyptic landscape, this long-delayed production falls dispiritingly short on every front.