Film (2009). Dimension Films and 2929 Productions present a Nick Wechsler/Chockstone Pictures production. Directed by John Hillcoat. Written by Joe Penhall, based on The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy. Cast includes Robert Duvall, Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron and Michael K Williams. 111 minutes. Colour.
A father and son struggle to survive in a Near Future blighted by worldwide Ecological collapse.
McCarthy's narrative is faithfully reproduced in this refreshingly bleak depiction of a starving world where an unexplained Holocaust has destroyed the food chain and the few remaining humans have fallen into varieties of grim survivalism ranging from desperate scavenging to banditry and cannibalism. The film soft-pedals some of the novel's more brutal excesses, expands the role of the lost mother (to give Theron something more than a perfunctory cameo), and attempts a more encouraging reading of the child's resilient faith in a possibility of human goodness despaired of by his father. In a spirit of Fabulation, the film aims to deflect reductive questions about the technical nature of the catastrophe; this proves easier to sustain in the novel than on screen, where the camera's more objective gaze makes it harder to suppress the viewer's curiosity about things the characters implicitly know. Nevertheless, the film's hearty disdain for the reassurances of Survivalist Fiction make it an important and haunting counter to Cosy Catastrophe cinema and its implausible narrative beguilements. [NL]
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