A masterpiece on the woes of humanity in post-apocalyptic America, “The Road”

Meredith Gallagher

In the midst of Twilight media-mania, many a movie have slipped under the radar, and none more deserving than the post-apocalyptic masterpiece, “The Road.” The movie follows a father and son as they try to weather the constant rains, survive encounters with cannibals, and find enough food to keep them alive.

Adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer-winning novel, “The Road” is sure to win recognition of its own this award season. The film takes place several years after some unknown cataclysmic event. Only pockets of survivors remain in the depressingly bleak world, the father-son duo among them.

Viggo Mortensen (more commonly known as Aragorn from Lord of the Rings) stars as the unnamed father, a previously normal man, now a scavenger fighting for his son’s survival as well his own. Played by 13-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee, his son is the sole reason for his existence, as well as the constant voice of goodness.

As The Man reveals his willingness to stay alive, The Boy often keeps his father on the right track. The film follows them along their lonely and sometimes terrifying trek to the Atlantic coast, where they hope to find something, anything, but they do not know what.

The performances by both Mortenson and Smit-McPhee are nearly flawless and entirely convincing. Yet, perhaps the most chilling performance of the film is that of Charlize Theron, seen only in flashbacks as the cold and hopeless mother/wife.

Directed by John Hillcoat, a relative newcomer to the American film industry, “The Road” is filmed beautifully and simply.

Special effects are limited, with the filmmakers depending more on the bleak landscapes of wintery Pennsylvania and a Katrina-devastated New Orleans than CGI imaging–a refreshing contrast to the other apocalyptic film of the season, 2012. Flashbacks to before the end of the world are interspersed throughout the film, allowing much-needed bursts of life and color.

“The Road” remains, as lovers of the novel will undoubtedly appreciate, very true to the book. The film is slightly faster-paced for understandable reasons, focusing more on the run-ins with cannibals, thieves, and snipers than the novel did. However, it still captures the overall feel perfectly: bleak and depressing, with the constant feeling that there may be hope just beyond the horizon.
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