“I told the boy when you dream about bad things happening, it means you’re still fighting and you’re still alive. It’s when you start to dream about good things that you should start to worry.”
– The Man
SYNOPSIS: In a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, an ailing father defends his son as they slowly travel to the sea. – via IMDB
I have heard so much about this movie, and have always vowed to get to it, and then just dumped it on my immense To Watch pile. It just never moved from there. I heard it was sad, I heard it was brilliant, I heard it is well worth the watch, and that’s why it eventually made it onto a Blind Spot list of mine, to make sure that I would watch it.
Right off the bat, Viggo Mortensen is excellent here, he really is. When the movie opened, I expected some hardcore, hardened asshole with a kid in tow, no amiss if you are making comparisons to The Last of Us. What I soon learned is that he is nowhere near as bitter as Joel, and The Road provides flashbacks into the past of this man and boy, and paints a severely depressing image. Mortensen plays off Kodi Smit-McPhee so well – they really do sell the father/son duo stuck in some godawful apocalypse. There is an extreme love between the two, and it is ever present throughout the film, whether in the harsh or tender moments, it is always love that is the binding.
The visuals for The Road are excellent, as well as the score. The sound is melancholy and depressing, and the image is grey and colourless, running home this point of hopelessness, the fear and sadness, the uncertainty. There are stolen moments of smiles laced throughout the movie, some of them deliberate and obvious in their design to elicit a certain response from the viewer, but welcome in the bleak landscape nonetheless.
Despite all the horrors and despair of the world, the boy manages to maintain some for of childish innocence about him, which his father both appreciates and fears, because someday his son will need to fend on his own, and so the innocence will sadly have to be eradicated. The Road tells a story of parenthood, too. Not all promises can be kept, and you can only do your best for your children, despite the circumstances. This is just scraping the surface of that whole message.
I appreciated the fact that not too much was shared about how this dystopian future came to be, as that little bit of mystery is always good. Less is more, remember that. Without the terrible backstory, we are afforded the time to concentrate on the father and his son, and get little snippets of the past to bring it all together, to resonate more. I also felt that the movie was long, very long, and because of the gloomy nature of it, it was sometimes difficult to overlook.
The Road is a long, brutal affair, but it is a good one. It is well worth the watch, though it did not crush me as I had expected it to. Let’s not blame the movie for that – my husband says I can be very cut off at times.