The Road

2009

The Road

Critics Consensus

The Road's commitment to Cormac McCarthy's dark vision may prove too unyielding for some, but the film benefits from hauntingly powerful performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi McPhee.

73%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 211

68%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 248,378
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Movie Info

"The Road" is a post-apocalyptic dramatic thriller about a father and his son walking alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food -- and each other.

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Critic Reviews for The Road

All Critics (211) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (154) | Rotten (57)

  • It wasn't fascinating at all. The movie looked like it cost $500 to make, excluding actors' salaries, which were worth another $500.

    Jan 16, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • Anyone looking for either an adventure or an engrossing rumination on life after The End will find it tough to see beyond the film's starkly rendered gloom.

    Jan 28, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • It calls on all of one's powers of emotional endurance but it rewards the brave. It is relentless but beautiful, harrowing but tender.

    Jan 26, 2010 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A Trojan-horse blockbuster that promises the wham bam of apocalypse while actually delivering the quiet pain of human intimacy, The Road might just be one of the most heartfelt end-of-the-world movies yet made.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • It is an inexpressibly painful subject and Hillcoat has brought it to the screen with great intelligence.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Road

  • Aug 26, 2016
    The Road is directed by John Hillcoat and stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as a man and his son traversing across the country in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The world they live in is bleak and full of bad people, and the two can only trust each other. Holy cow, this movie is BLEAK. Right off the bat, we get thrown into this horrible, broken world (shot in Pennsylvania) with narration by Mortensen. He explains that most survivors are thieves and cannibals and that he and his son are "the good guys." They are as good as good gets in this world, which might not even be that great. Mortensen's protective nature drives him to do a couple of horrible things, which disturbs McPhee. Both of these actors deliver fantastic performances and have great chemistry with each other. Charlize Theron, seen in flashbacks as the wife/mother, adds to the background of Mortensen's character, who is increasingly feeling hopeless. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis wrote the film score for this movie, and it is incredibly fitting; the contrasting music between the grim scenes and the hopeful scenes is spectacular. I really love this movie, but I do have a disclaimer for anybody out there who might watch this: this is a TOUGH movie to watch. I had to take a break halfway through it because it was so heavy. The Road is a fantastic movie for what it is, but it definitely is not something you turn on when you're bored on a Saturday afternoon. If you're in the right mindset going into the movie, you'll leave satisfied. Final grade: B+ -Ben
    Ben B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2016
    The Road is one of those films that forces you to put life in perspective. It forces you to think about the life you're living now, and imagine what life would be like without everything. That's The Road in a nutshell. Its dark and depressing view on a post-apocalyptic world is second to none. Although I don't think I would ever want to sit down and watch it again, I can appreciate the great story telling and performances by everyone involved. The best way to describe this film is that it is beautifully devastating from pretty much start to finish. The Road stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as 'man' and 'boy' respectively. Sure, there are small but important roles for Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, and Charlize Theron, but the strength of the film lies in the hands of Viggo and Kodi. It takes but one scene for the two of them to win you over and you're instantly rooting for them and hooked into this world. In some ways, their relationship can be paralleled with Rick and Carl Grimes in the early seasons of The Walking Dead. Both of them are forced to live in a dangerous and bleak world without much to live on but the strength of the love between them. We don't know exactly why the world is the way it is, but it doesn't matter. We just want the boy and man to survive as long as possible. The director, John Hillcoat, doesn't really pull any punches. He tugs on your emotions throughout the film and throws in some horrific and brutal images for us to keep in the backs of our memory. I appreciated that. The impressive production design paints the entire earth as grey but the story is endlessly colorful with a beautiful and sometimes devastating relationship between a man and his son at the core of it all. You don't really expect anything good to happen to the characters but the hope is always there. Perhaps that was the message Hillcoat was trying to send the audience. To me, that is beautiful. +Incredible lead performances +Production design +Beautiful storytelling +Doesn't hold back 9.0/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Road is one of those "could have been better"-type films. Various aspects, such as the acting, stand out as well-done and nothing about it is terrible, but at the end it does not feel like it was as good as it could have been. The problem is that the way it is filmed is too stark and bleak for a drama and there is lack of dramatic scoring. The result is that I, as a viewer, do not feel strongly for the main characters even though the acting is strong and the story is believable. But all-in-all, the Road is fine and fans of the post-apocalypse genre should enjoy it.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 01, 2015
    There has been many end of the World films but few are about the real struggle of surviving day to day and if there was then they are nothing on this beautifully shot yet heartbreaking scary film about a man and his son trying to survive another day without using there only 2 bullets on themselves, Yes that is the plot, To most it won't appeal but it's amazingly acted and even though it's a slow burner that never catches fire the story and the on screen connection between Viggo and Kodi is enough to keep us gripped and drag us into the story with them and the ending was perfect, There's no action just pure drama in an apocalyptic World.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer

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