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Film review: The Road

01 Oct 2010

Brace yourself. The Road is not for the faint of heart. Grimy, greyscale and undeniably grim, The Road takes the old post-apocalyptic wasteland scenario to a new level of haunting, harrowing realism. An unexplained cataclysm has ravaged the earth – plant and animal life has all but disappeared, and the last few human survivors have sunk to shocking lows in their quest to survive. Amidst the destruction and depravity, a father and son attempt to make their way south in search of something, anything, that will ensure their survival. The path is not an easy one, however. On foot, and with all they own on their backs, they must make their way across a barbarous landscape, populated with the last staggering semblance of mankind – a desperate assembly all too ready to turn their terrible hunger on their own kind. Yup, The Road is no walk in the park. It is every bit as grim as it sounds. But at its heart it’s a moving portrait of hope in the face of hopelessness and humanism in a world decidedly inhumane. The cinematography is superb and Viggo Mortensen is brilliant as the stubborn, desperate father, preaching the gospel of faith to his son in a world so very overrun with despair. If you look up this film online however, beware. There are some truly horrible trailers for this film - horrible in the sense that they try to pass The Road off as some sort of Michael Bay-style disaster movie, or zombie apocalypse action film. It is neither of these and such cheap marketing ploys do the film a massive disservice. Because The Road is so much more than a silly genre movie. Part meditation on familial devotion, part environmental cautionary tale, The Road is a painfully frank examination of the world of men and their relationships – to each other and the earth.