Movie Review – The Road
2009 – Spoiler alerts.
Post apocalypse movies tend to be bleak and gritty but this nevertheless compelling drama takes that sense of doom-laden despair to a whole new level.
Exactly what has destroyed the World is never stated. We don’t know if it is a natural or a man-made calamity. Barely any humans have survived and seemingly no animals. The trees are perished, often collapsing around the survivors in the woods.
The story focuses on a father and a ten year old son in a relationship that may influence that of father & son in The Walking Dead stories. Here however, there are no zombies, and no food. The choices are dwindling left over canned goods, cannibalism or starvation.
The father is untrusting to any other people; even a half blind old man (Robert Duvall) in crude uncomfortable fragile home made boots who they meet on the road they walk in a harsh winter, and the son, who wants to reach out and bond with other people, is separated from anyone by his father’s increasing isolationism.
The duo briefly find a well-stocked old survivalist fallout shelter which could sustain them for years, but sounds of other survivors walking by outside the concealed entrance freak the father out and he forces the son to abandon it too, even though they are never attacked there. The boy finds himself dragged along in a seemingly helpless hopeless journey.
The father has a gun, with just two bullets, and a planned suicide pact, but circumstances oblige him to use his bullets elsewhere, and the question becomes one of how the son will survive if deprived of his dad’s protection. Will he go to join others or become a totally solitary wanderer?
Brilliant central performances from Kodi-Smit McPhee as the Boy (characters are never named), and Viggo Morteson, best known as Aragorn / Strider in The Lord Of The Rings) as the father.
Pessimistic but spell-binding work, about keeping ourselves going even with no destination to reach for.