Guest / Limited Access /
The Road
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
 
(15 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
R (for some violence, disturbing images and language)
Genre
Directed By
John Hillcoat
Run Time
1 hour 51 minutes
Cast
Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce
Theatre Release
December 18, 2009 by Dimension/Weinstein

On the first page of The Road—Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of father/son survival in a post-apocalyptic world—we are introduced to a world of darkness and gray, stinking robes and plastic tarpaulins, bleak lifelessness "like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world." But amidst this hell we see a father reaching out to touch his child.

John Hillcoat's film version also opens with this scene, perfectly capturing from the outset the spirit of "love among the ruins" that makes McCarthy's book a true 21st century classic. It's a timeless, ancient story of humanity that recalls the first spark of fire in the primeval caves; but it's also a story of our time, perhaps the truest and most important piece of post-9/11 literature we have. Coming as it does in the waning months of this tumultuous decade, this cinematic adaptation is everything it needs to be and more. This film is of the finest order and an impressively restrained, quietly humane work of art for our fragile times—a triumph of beauty, tragedy, prophecy and redemption.

The film's story—faithfully adapted by playwright Joe Penhall—is simple. Set against the backdrop of an unknown apocalypse, we follow "Man" (Viggo Mortensen in his career-best) and "Boy" (then-11-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee), unnamed because the world is too far gone for such luxuries as names. The father-son duo are survivors in a not-too-distant future in which nature is dying, fires rage, ash permeates the air, and those who aren't cannibals are relegated to scavenging for dead bugs. The Road follows this pair on their perilous journey to the coast, a place of perpetual hope in which the air might be warmer and the food might be easier. It's an ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueJimmy Carter: Pursuing an Arc of Reconciliation
Subscriber Access Only
Jimmy Carter: Pursuing an Arc of Reconciliation
The former president has a new hope for racial justice—starting with the church.
Current IssueManga Mania
Subscriber Access Only
Manga Mania
The Japanese Bible series has sold more than the Jesus Storybook Bible. So why is it not taking off in Japan?
RecommendedWhat Happened When Christian Writers Watched an All-Muslim Movie?
What Happened When Christian Writers Watched an All-Muslim Movie?
Introducing a new series from film critic Jeffrey Overstreet.
TrendingOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Editor's PickHow Science Became a Weapon in the Mommy Wars
How Science Became a Weapon in the Mommy Wars
Peer-reviewed research intensifies parenting debates… and can leave us even more confused.
Christianity Today
The Road
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.