The Road – 27.65345241 / 29.937517

I really got into this movie. Saw it with about 5 other people, and am not sure what they thought. Perhaps because it left me in a very glum private place, thinking about personal things. I haven’t read the book. But i feel like the director did what he wanted. And I applaud the story for not bothering with details of the apocalypse. In a way, I think it is the story of a second apocalypse (or “the real apocalypse”) -as this guy’s family collapses.

Basically, the acting was very nuanced. The settings and tones were very consistent. I was totally sucked in. (Except I kind of hate Charlize Theron, for inexplicable reasons. But that worked with her role in the movie pretty well, probably).

eh. I was suprised to read that they only used CGI to remove some green plants, blue sky, and airplane trails. There’s several “big shots” in the movie that were apparently genuine. One “big shot” in particular, of some beached tankers and some big black smoke, was apparently real. Taken from a 70mm print, it was captured in New Orleans after Katrina. And the black smoke was from the twin towers. eek. It’s weird that I enjoyed this as spectacle at the time (not sure I “keyed into the imagery, subconciously” as the filmmaker notes in one of the promotional interviews that exposed this fx/non-fx moment).
…I don’t think of this as spoilers, because I feel it’s just a reminder of what’s going on from the first moment our characters wake up.
Brief FX shots are trivial in a movie about very base human interaction.

I’m not big on poetry, but the film got under my skin a bit and pushed many buttons.

(i didn’t like the last movie this director, John Hillcoat, made. Which was “The Proposition.” In retrospect, that flic strikes me as similarly bleak. but much more boring. and concerned with characters I cared much less about. And a lot of its acting felt forced. to me. But now I have read that THAT movie was heavily inspired by another Cormac McCarthy book, Blood Meridian. soo. that is interesting. … I think the Road was wayyyyy better.)

Uh, eh. How to wrap this rambling up…

If you’re a faint heart, you should know that The Road is mostly a big bleak downer, full of suffering and struggle, that is very hard to watch. It is up to you to draw a cathartic enjoyment from it. (and i think everyone I saw it with felt uplifted as the credits rolled, despite all the darkness). In other words, you might not be able to enjoy it. (because: you suck).


this idea of “keeping the flame alive” is directly mentioned in the final scene of No Country For Old Men. right? weird. hmm. It’s weird how this is noted as a universal theme that transcends religion in some of the promotional interviews. hmm. I feel like I understand the symbol, but am not sure how to explain it. I feel like those that don’t like this movie are dismissing this symbol (and missing the whole point).

* I thought the ending was clearly “the kid went insane”. they set up dog scratching earlier, and the kid seeing other kids which the dad couldn’t see. I was SURE of this as the credits rolled, and was deeply moved.

My friends thought it was tacked on hollywood cop out bullshit.
but apparently the book ends this way too. huh.

This makes me maybe it is ultimately symbolic of the father’s driving mission to keep the child from his new (crappy) life for as along as possible. Maybe the other homeless people his kid was reaching out too wouldn’t have proved to be that bad? Maybe the dad was holding him too close?
I’m still processing the movie i guess…
I feel there is a strong message that the story is more horrific from the father’s perspective. The kid seems much more at home in this new world. So if the kid gets this idealized family with a little girl and dog, in the end, maybe that’s the intent. Maybe it isn’t all hopeless. It feels like the “writing voice” of a father. He never gets to see it, but he did right by his son. All isn’t lost.

or maybe it’s a sign that if he’d just given up earlier, his kid would have been better off to be rid of him. hmmf. not sure.

to me, the kid went nuts and made up imaginary family. fuck you. It’s the Brazil ending, and couldn’t be more depressing.

* I also felt this strong idea that the whole movie might be a parable about homelessness. Like maybe there is no clear apocalypse because the mother’s death drove the dad insane. So he’s wandering the streets with his son, starving, and it’s just the story of many a crazed homeless person. I felt the imagery of plastic bags and shopping carts and leathery stained fingers was spot on “homeless people chic.” But again, interviews seem to suggest I was wrong. the director was just pulling imagery that we could recognize, so that it would be more unsettling and “local.” Hit closer to home.

* In my heart I can’t believe I got either of these points so wrong. I wonder if it’s there in the book and everyone (maybe even the director) is misinterpreting it. I’d like to think Cormac Macarthy is just waiting for me to post this ramble so he can give me a big high five. heh. but probably not.

I’m afraid to read the book in case I’m dead wrong.

* Part of me thinks this whole story is a parable about “what death really is.” That is: It’s about stubbornly dragging your kids along even though you have no idea what you’re doing or where you’re going, until you ultimately have to give up and fail them by dying – at which point they move on to a new family of their own.

* and this is why i like the movie and basically think it a 9 out of 10. because I was able to read a lot into it, even if nobody saw the same things.
I only knock it for being so bleak and poetic that i’m not really interested in suffering it again. maybe once. or twice. but that’s it. I feel like a 10 out of 10 movie is one you have to own, and could watch at any moment. I’m not sure this movie fits that mold. (plus the fear that I am stubbornly misinterpreting it makes think I shouldn’t be too quick to embrace it).

I hear they cut out a disturbing “baby eating” scene. probably just a shot in the cannibal house? Ultimately i don’t think this movie showed me any scene so jaw dropping that I’d have to have it. Maybe that scene would have been the scene that forever made this the most fucked up cannibal movie ever. But it was cut, apparently because they didn’t want to scare people. So that should also probably knock points off the review. but that’s also just rumor so fuck it. Wish some part of this movie had just floored me though, so I could justify wanting to own it and study it further. Maybe its just a brilliant movie – that wasn’t made for me. (note: i buy movies the deeply disturb me, like Irreversible and Gummo, so I can better understand how and why).

blah blah, but it worked for me on a very personal level. I’d highly recommend it.


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