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The Road Reviews

Page 1 of 468
John M

Super Reviewer

November 28, 2009
A beautifully shot film with a haunting soundtrack that adds to the depressing and often disturbing story of a father trying to keep his son alive in a post apocalyptic world. Mortensen is simply amazing as the father and the youngster Kodi Smit-Mcphee is great as the son.

It doesnt matter what happened, it just did and when that time comes, the story revolves around someone just trying to survive. And that is the beauty of this simple but complex story. Wonderful film.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2012
Grim, straight ahead, no frills account about a just-the-facts dad and his young boy trying to survive after the apocalypse. Hope peers occasionally through the cracks but this highway makes no allusions about where its headed. Decent.
Brian D

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2010
A bleak and un-nerving movie of a man and hes 10 year old son travelling thru a post apocalyptic america and a dieding world too.This is a un pleasant movie with not must hope for the two leads.Mortensen is so good here and carrys the weight of the movie but is help by hes young co-star and the two are so believeable.There are a couple of big name stars co starring as well but are given a very limted screen time.Charlize Theron is limted to flashback as mortonsen wife and boy's mother and you learn about her fate.Duvall as about 10 mins of screen time as a old man they come across who is trying to survive and guy pearce who end up at the end of the movie and has about 5 mins screen time.The main star of the movie here is not just the simple story but the world they have created.Has they wonder the countryside with no colour just dark and grey and the land barren with the town destoryed and city still burning.I do recommend this alot to hard core movie fans who like this type of movie,Please dont take the trailer for what it is because to me that could have been other movie but its not this one.There is no big action sence here.Hopefully this should get a nod at the oscars because it deserse it but will just have to wait and see.
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

November 28, 2009
A little too slow for my liking but I'm always intrigued by these dark films and this one certainly wasn't lacking in the acting, plot and character development department.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2009
Had I not read the book, I'm not sure I'd have been able to watch the film. The beginning is incredibly lugubrious, and though it has its captivating moments, the action is dragged down by the minimalist dialogue. In the novel, it's all rendered in words, and it's a book I read in one night, practically one sitting, even. I was barely able to do the same with the movie. The cinematography was excellent, though.
Albert K

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2011
A gritty, depressing look into a post-apocalyptic world. Sounds like an interesting approach to an apocalyptic setting but unfortunately, the pacing suffers. The pacing is never redeemed. Viggo Mortensen, as always, captures the screen but with little to no dialogue, the performance can be magnetic but not enough to create an interesting story.

Super Reviewer

November 28, 2011
The Man: All I know is that the boy was my charge. And if he was not the word of God. Then God never spoke. 

"In a moment the world changed forever."

The Road is such a bleak and depressing movie to watch and it should be. The world that the father-son characters are put into is as bleak as any I have seen in a movie. The two characters move south and must watch out for cannibals and have to be suspicious of everyone. They search for food and are lucky when they are able to find crumbs on an old diners table. There's very little happiness to be found in The Road.

For a majority of the running time, nothing much happens. A father and son walk through a desolate America in search for coast line and from there, who knows. They have to battle the elements, their hunger and the few survivors they encounter. All they have is each other and a pistol with two bullets in it. The film does have some absolutely devastating scenes; one of which almost brought me to tears and I don't tear up easily from movies. The Road at a huge effect on me.

As I watched this movie, I realized just how nice I have it and that I wouldn't last a day trying to live the way these characters do. As I watched on my big screen television, I sipped on a Pepsi, while sitting in my nice warm house, while eating some Thanksgiving leftovers, while I got updates on sporting events from my iPad. Take away all those things and put me in a world where I have to fight to survive; I'd be dead in less than 24 hours. 

Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are tremendous as the father-son survivors. The two have amazing chemistry on the screen together and really bring the sadness of the situation home. Their performances are what makes this movie one of the best post-apocalyptic movies I have ever seen. 
Ken S

Super Reviewer

December 25, 2008
Much like the Proposition, this is a feel bad film. The dread that Hillcoat is able to convey is extremely powerful. But don't expect it to not ruin your evening. The after party must of been the worst party ever (except maybe Irreversible's.)
Sajin P

Super Reviewer

October 2, 2011
Premise of the movie takes place in a future when humanity is staring extinction in the face, reasons for which are not discussed in the movie. With most plant and animal life gone, the few survivors left are wandering in search for food, and many even resorting to cannibalism. With whatever little determination they have left, a man and his son sets out on what might be a hopeless quest, where their morals and faith will be tested throughout.

In what may be one of the most uncompromising version of a possible future than any other yet put on film, a viewer can feel the weight of despair sinking into his consciousnesses, every passing second. An excellent production design with desolate landscapes and gray skies, powerful performances from its actors (Including an unforgettable cameo by Robert Duvall) makes this one of the most remarkable post-apocalyptic movie I've seen.

Super Reviewer

July 13, 2011
A father and son journey south in an apocalyptic wasteland, but they neither know where they are going nor why,
There is no getting around the fact that this is one of the most grim, pessimistic, and depressing films in recent memory. What is the film saying? That retaining one's moral compass is far more difficult that we might think. We see this as the Boy tries to prevent his father from mistreating the Thief and the Old Man and his constant question: "We're still the good guys, right, Papa?"
What sets Cormac McCarthy's work apart from most of the other post-apocalyptic films you've seen is an over-whelming absence. There's the absence of comedic irony found in A Boy and His Dog or a hero like Mad Max or a pregnant woman like Children of Men or even evidence of enduring modernity like The Mist or, in the case of the zombie apocalypse, 28 Days Later. There isn't even a named cause for what has become of America. In other words, there is simply no hope.
As I think about this film, I wonder if saying a negative is saying anything, if negation is in itself substantive. I think so. But I also think that it doesn't make a compelling film.
Overall, if you're looking for the feel-good movie of the year or any endearing insight into the human condition, look elsewhere.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2011
A lot better than what I expected as I have read the book and it's a very difficult narrative to get across. If I hadn't have read the book I might not have understood some points and the movie has missed out a lot of good plot points however great performances from all. In the book I didn't notice how dodgy the final male character is after The Man has died so that's a difference I've seen in this movie.
Alexander W

Super Reviewer

March 27, 2011
A father and son struggle to live and survive through post apcolyptic America, we never really know what happened although flashbacks are given as to the fathers past life, the movie is a slow yet progressive grim look at how surviving is dangerous. The music sets the mood, all in all, a good film if you want something slow paced but a little scary.
Kristijonas F

Super Reviewer

February 8, 2011
Believe me, I love the regular cry-yourself-to-sleep-after-watching flick as much as the next guy, but this Cormac McCarthy adaptation takes it to a whole new level. Grim, haunting, yet so ever refreshing.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

January 4, 2011
I'm a big fan of Cormac McCarthy but I'm yet to have read this one yet and therefore cannot comment on the film as an adaptation, although it sounds as if they are two very different beasts. It feels like a Cormac McCarthy story at least - bleak, desperate and somewhat depressing - definitely my kind of film. That said, sometimes when life becomes so bad and so unbearable, only then can you often see what is so wonderful about life. That was the message I got anyway, and I believe that was the intention and that it was portrayed brilliantly. John Hillcoat has made a harrowing but beautiful film, a future classic.

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2010
Perhaps too real for it's own good, The Road shows the true, unvarnished underbelly of the human psyche - constantly asking the question "what would you do if?"

Moving at glacial speed through a tortured landscape filmed in dull greys, the film chronicles a man and a boy as they head south and then east, towards the ocean, hoping to find, if not salvation, then a slightly warmer clime in which to further their existence.

While on the road, the man tries to teach the boy about surviving; imparting his values in a world that seemingly cares not. In this particular hell, the world is growing colder and all the flora and fauna have died - leaving precious little to eat. So of course many survivers join roving gangs and pull a Donner Party... again, what would you do if? It's easy to say you would never resort to cannibalism, but if you're starving...I can only imagine the torture of that slow kind of death.

While man and boy edge southward, you are treated to the film's undertone, asking yet another question - if the world is so inhospitable, is life still worth living? In flashbacks you see snippets of the life Man had with his wife, and how she slowly makes her choice. Here yet again, I asked myself what I would do if faced with the collapse of society into barbarism; looking at a future that held no hope for recovery.

There is yet another theme here; that of faith and finding something to either believe in, or give your life purpose. Man decides that it is all important to protect Boy (who is an allegory for what Man perceives to be the goodness left in the world).

But for all this deep thinking and harrowing vistas, the film seemed to only connect on a superficial, theoretical level. As I mentioned, perhaps it was just too real to truly get under my skin... and yet certain scenes keep swirling in my noggin. Man and Boy encounter an old man shuffling along the road. After sizing each other up, Boy insists that they share some of their hoarded food bounty. After supping together, Boy falls asleep and Man asks the oldster (a well disguised Robert Duvall by the way) if he ever wished he would die. Duvall replies "it's foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these". In the morning he staggers off, as if, like a shark, he will die if he doesn't keep moving. Man let's him go, knowing that their precious food supply will last much longer without an extra mouth to feed.

There is another scene in which Man turns cruel towards another man - virtually leaving him to die. Shortly thereafter Boy asks his father "are we still the good guys?" I agree, hard to tell.

Yet another scene that I found telling was when Man and Boy are walking along the burned out ruins of a boardwalk. A sniper with a bow and arrow hits Man in the leg and then continues to shoot at the pair (the reason why is never explained). Man sees a shape in a window and fires a flare gun shell through the window. He then goes to investigate, finding a woman in the room, screaming over the smoking body "you bastard!". Ok, your husband/boyfriend/protector shot at Man and Boy with no provication, and yet Man is a bastard for firing back? Guess she and her man should have thought the situation through a bit better. Were the pair cannibals or just scared that perhaps Man and Boy were?

In the end, there were a couple of incongruities and a slight slip in continuity. Man and Boy find a fully stocked bomb shelter, yet, after hearing something scrabbling around topside, decide that it isn't safe there, and so continue their torturous trek. Not sure I would have done the same.

Later, there is a scene where Boy alternately appears clean faced and dirty faced, a continuity issue that should have been caught.

The film draws to a close with a sense of hope, which is hauntingly furthered while the credits are playing. You hear what appears to be children playing on a lawn (you can hear what seems to be a sprinkler). Whether this is a sign of hope, or a lament of what was lost is left to the viewer.

A very thought provoking film that I wish I could rate higher, but I felt it wallowed in its dismal atmosphere just a bit too much.

Super Reviewer

August 13, 2009
I see this apocalypse film is a tough journey to make but it's also a gripping and entertaining survival piece.
Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee excel in believable terror and toughness, as do Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce in cameo appearances. The characters can't help but be afraid - who wouldn't be? And they're similarly instinctively resilient, because the alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. Their commonality is that they've become almost like animals.
However, screenwriter Joe Penhall's script invokes a spirituality - Man talks of carrying the fire of decency and of Boy being like an angel - that separates them from the savages.

Super Reviewer

November 27, 2009
In an Earth devastated by nuclear war, a father and son travel to the coast to find respite to the seemingly never-ending horrors they are witness to. For "post apocalyptic science fiction", The Road is a far more character driven, ponderous affair than you would expect. It is essentially a story of survival under the most adverse conditions, as a father tries to hold onto his humanity while trying to protect his son and himself from starvation and the degenerate cannibals the majority of the rest of the human race has become. As a result, the innocence of his son comes to act as his conscience, but all this really comes down to is this: Viggo & son are walking down a road, meet bad guys, Viggo threatens them with gun, son cries "No poppa, no! Don't kill him!" and they run away. Again, and again. The acting is excellent, particularly from Mortensen (although he does seem to stipulate in his contract these days that he must be able to show his arse at least once during the running time of every film he appears in) and the desolate world that Hillcoat has created is totally believable. Unfortunately I didn't feel any real connection to the characters and so it felt a bit like a painting with a beautifully rendered background, but nothing going on in the foreground that really grabs your attention.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 13, 2010
Although flawed and suffering from an at-times melodramatic turn from its child star, this unrelentingly bleak, dark story succeeds thanks to a regular awesome performance from Viggo Mortensen, as well as its ability to grasp its audience attention despite relatively little going on. Its basically a worst-look scenario at the devolution of humanity, however unlike other looks at apocalyptic plights, we don't know how it occurred - in fact it doesn't even matter. Although as said, Smit-McPhee overplays his part at times, the father-son relationship between Mortensen and him rings true, especially at the film's haunting, moving finale. Although it has some pacing problems and never takes the next step to greatness, this is a solid, memorable view of what the future might hold for us if we as a society are ever collectively stripped of our core values. If anything, see this film for its atmosphere and look, as well as Mortensen's pitch-perfect turn.
_kelly .

Super Reviewer

February 5, 2009
If you want realistic and depressing post-apocalyptic drama, this is a paradigm film to view.
Jani H

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2010
"We are not gonna quit. We are gonna survive this."

Seldomly directing John Hillcoat surprised the hell out of me in 2005 with 'The Proposition', an aussie western written by Nick Cave. The movie was a breath of fresh air to a slowly dying genre. In 2009, Hillcoat came out with 'The Road', a post-apocalyptic road movie, based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer winning novel. The adaptation turns out to be one of the bleakest movies I've ever seen but also one of the best of 2009.

A man and a boy struggle to survive in a world that was destroyed by a unexplained cataclysm or nuclear holocaust. The human civilization is nothing but a distant memory. It's all about survival against the harsh nature and men. With no food left, mankind has descended into cannibalism. While trying to hold their own sense of humanity, the man and the boy try to get to warmer grounds down south.

'The Road' was a difficult film to watch. First of all, I have to say that I haven't read the novel so it's impossible for me to compare the film to its original source. But as a film, this is all good. I especially liked the relationship between the father and the son. Thru their relationship, small glimpses of hope for humanity are shown. The young boy is still naive but despite his age he succeeds to keep his cynical father reminded of the good of men. The father's only concern is to keep his son safe and he is even willing to kill him if they'd be captured by the "evil men". Despite everything that has happened, affection is not lost. There was some scenes that were masterfully made, for example a scene with a Coke can and the words "Its bubbly". Simplistic yet effective.

Viggo Mortensen and the young actor portraying the son, Kodi Smit-McPhee, are superb in their roles. I can't recall when was the last time I saw expressions of feelings portrayed so well. Them two are so in character that it's at times astounding to watch them work. Their relationship is founded on realistic dialogue and small gestures. The warmth of a hug, touch of a kiss on a dirty forehead. Brilliant.

'The Road' also reminds us of the fact that the nature and humankind are dependent of each other. Everything is very bleak and grey in the movie. You can almsot literally smell the dust, feel the cold of the world. It really hurt to see how hollow and rotten trees fell to the gound as if they would be the ones who have lost hope.The environment in the film is constantly reminding us of the possibility of disaster that we are going for, whether we like it or not.

The world after the apocalypse is dangerously realistic. The film may not please most of its viewers but Hillcoat has managed to come out with a staggering piece of cinema. The cinematography is brilliant, the acting is superb and the script is awfully realistic. What more will you need? 'The Road' is one of the most important and painfully moving films I've seen recently.
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