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The Road Reviews

Tom Huddlestone
Time Out
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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 Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

January 8, 2010
Sam Adams
Los Angeles Times
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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 Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: B-

December 2, 2009
A.O. Scott
At the Movies
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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.

Full Review Source: At the Movies

November 30, 2009
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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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

November 29, 2009
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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How could anything so bleak be so promising?

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3.5/4

November 29, 2009
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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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.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

November 29, 2009
Christopher Orr
The New Republic
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Is the film too grim? Or not grim enough? In a perverse way, I fear it's both.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

November 26, 2009
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
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This year's entry in the Movies You Admire and Respect but Don't Ever Want to Watch Again Sweepstakes.

Full Review Source: Film.com | Original Score: B

November 25, 2009
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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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 Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3/5

November 25, 2009
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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The Road possesses undeniable sweep and a grim kind of grandeur, but it ultimately plays like a zombie movie with literary pretensions.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 25, 2009
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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Zombieland was the same movie with laughs, but if you take away the comedy, what is left? Nothing, on a vast scale.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

November 25, 2009
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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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.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

November 25, 2009
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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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 Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/5

November 25, 2009
Dana Stevens
Slate
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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.

Full Review Source: Slate

November 25, 2009
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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My, but it's been a fine year for Armageddon.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

November 25, 2009
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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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 Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

November 25, 2009
Tom Long
Detroit News
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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 Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B

November 25, 2009
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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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 Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 25, 2009
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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The Road, a tremulous heartbreaker onscreen, has successfully made the leap despite an unthinkable amount of fidelity.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/5

November 25, 2009
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

November 25, 2009
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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The Road can be a tough slog, but the journey is a rewarding one.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4/5

November 25, 2009
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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What we've been given is no more than a reasonable facsimile, an honorable attempt at filming an unfilmable book.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

November 24, 2009
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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John Milton described hell as "darkness visible." That is the grim, mesmerizing world that director John Hillcoat creates here.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

November 24, 2009
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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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 Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3.5/4

November 24, 2009
Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
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... 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 Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 2.5/5

November 24, 2009
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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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 Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 24, 2009
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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Hillcoat gives the film a remarkably evocative backdrop, but the drama lacks depth and dimension, and the scenes tend to blur together.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B-

November 24, 2009
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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The Road has the signposts of an important film, but it lacks the diversions of an inviting trip.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 24, 2009
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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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 Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3/4

November 24, 2009
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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The Road, for all its vivid desolation, remains a curiously unmoving experience.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B-

November 24, 2009
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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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 Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2/4

November 24, 2009
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Already, Hillcoat's film has divided critics on the international festival circuit. The one constant is the praise, rightly so, for Mortensen.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 24, 2009

Miami Herald
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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 Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

November 24, 2009
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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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 Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

November 23, 2009
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
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Adapting a masterpiece such as The Road is a thankless task, but the film doesn't work on its own merits.

November 23, 2009
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
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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.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

November 16, 2009
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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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 Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 15, 2009
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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Viggo Mortensen gives the performance of his career in the faithfully rendered film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's heartbreaking apocalyptic novel The Road.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

September 16, 2009
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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The two principals are superb, and the direction is resonant in its very restraint.

| Original Score: 3/4

September 14, 2009
Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
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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.

September 3, 2009
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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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.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 3, 2009
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