I find movies featuring bleak but realistic worlds strangely comforting. And The Road, a post-apocalyptic movie about a family trying to make it in this dangerous world is definitely one of them. You sort of overload on depression so all your problems seem somehow smaller and insignificant. And even if the apocalypse comes, you will be ready for it, forgoing any chance of happy life and settling for a much more realistic just plain old life. The Road is based on a 2006 novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy.
The post-apocalyptic world here is fully fleshed out along with the characters. Empty streets of slowly decaying cities replace vast swats of rugged terrain and this goes on forever. The sky is grey and the people even greyer, weathered by this harsh environment. Of course, this is a dog-eat-dog world now so vicious gangs are always on the lookout for their next victim. John Hillcoat was the perfect choice for a director as his previous movie The Proposition was somewhat similar.
There’s no room for humor or anything like that here, so don’t be expecting A Boy and His Dog or I am Legend. This is the kind of world where you might want to kill yourself and just be done with it because it won’t get any better. Or will it? Most of the elements of the story have been seen before but now they have a new coating. Viggo Mortensen gave one hell of performance along with Robert Duvall. The rest of the cast was also solid, including Charlize Theron and Kodi Smit-McPhee who plays the boy.
At first, the humans thought this is just another earthquake. However, soon all plants started dying off and the world turned to shit. Now it’s a desolate place with very few survivors willing to do anything to keep their lucky streak going. There are no rules and morality is a luxury they simply cannot afford. Still, humanity finds a way to exist in this darkest of all possible worlds.
Very suspenseful and difficult to watch at times, The Road forces the viewer to consider the daunting fact that the world may not be that “great” place that they imagined. It’s not just for post-apocalyptic or science fiction fans because it transcends those concepts. You can think of it as a movie portraying our everyday struggle to survive in today’s unkind world. And we haven’t had any apocalypses.
I think of this world as the world our ancestors lived in. A primal and unforgiving environment you simply cannot believe gave rise to our world. A world The Road might make you appreciate more and perhaps even inspire you to do something to make it better. If you’re looking for similar movies I recommend you check out our Rabbit Reviews selection of post-apocalyptic movies. Although I also must urge you to check out another great 2009 science fiction movie Moon starring Sam Rockwell.
Director: John Hillcoat
Writers: Joe Penhall, Cormac McCarthy
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker