Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Road. A


I first read The Road back in 2008, the same year that the movie was to be released. The film was one of the fall's most anticipated offerings, but when the trailer took forever to come out, I suspected something was up. And sure enough, the movie got delayed by one month and then by an entire year. Then it became one of 2009's most anticipated movies. But then it came out last November and sort of fizzled. The studio wanted it to be an Oscar movie, but it didn't receive a single nomination. Audiences didn't exactly flock to go see it, either. I've seen few movies that built up as much hype as The Road did and then just go down the drain mostly unnoticed. I can't complain too much since I'm admittedly one of the people who never saw it during its theatrical run. It's not that I didn't want to see it. It's just that I didn't get around to it. Maybe the lack of buzz surrounding the film caused this. I don't know. But I made up for it when it came out on DVD by watching it twice and loving it each time. And I'm actually glad it didn't receive a lot of attention. It deserved it, but it also made it feel smaller and more personal. The Road is a wonderful film, and about a perfect an adaptation as No Country for Old Men was. It's a bleak movie, but so was the book. And to be honest, it wasn't as depressing as the advanced word-of-mouth made it out to be at Toronto and then later during its theatrical release. The film is definitely gloomy, devoid of all natural color except during the flashbacks. And the pain of the father and son is vividly captured as they escape cannibals and desperately look for food and shelter. But there's a certain warmth to the movie because it's really a story about hope. And as the film moves along, good things do happen. The boy and his dad come upon a hatch filled with food, and meet an old man who's on their side. And the ending couldn't be more positive. The Road is very skillfully made by director John Hillcoat. But the final result is a team effort. Javier Agguiresarobe's widescreen cinematography beautifully captures the lifelessness of post-apocalyptic America, while the music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis really adds to the emotional side of the film. No Country for Old Men worked wonders without any music. But The Road would be incomplete without it. And finally, the movie has a bunch of great actors who've already proven they're great, and one youth who really saves the movie. A lot depends on him, and had he not succeeded the movie might have sunk. Gladly he does, and the whole picture comes together as a striking success.

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