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The Road (DVD)

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Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 2010 / Director: John Hillcoat / Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce / DVD Release: TBA

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    30 Reviews
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      04.07.2012 10:57
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      Terrifying and gripping

      This film strikes an ominous chord in you and contemplates many questions of human nature. It will leave you in a reflective and thoughtful mood and don't make the same mistake as I did of watching this right before bed as it is a little terrifying!

      I was gripped from beginning to end, watching this without having read the book beforehand and without any preconceptions of what it was about.

      The story follows two main characters a boy and his father through a world torn apart with humans resorting to cannibalism to survive. This film poses many deep questions about the limits of human nature and about the future of mankind. The tone is dark as the film explores potential future situations and questions of self destruction and keeping alive. This is a lawless state ravaged by an unknown cause, we presume perhaps nuclear warfare, and gangs roam fighting for survival and killing innocents to eat.

      The pair have left their home and family behind, as the man's wife and boy's mother commits suicide, and they scavenge food supplies and encounter unsavoury strangers.

      I would recommend this film as a thought provoking film to be discussed afterwards and don't watch this alone! It was terrifying and gripping.

      This film is quite slow moving and explores the relationship between the father and the son as they struggle together. I really enjoyed this film, and I am quite hard to please for slow moving films, but I do love films which leave the viewer asking lots of questions. This is definitely not a light hearted film!

      You can borrow this film off blockbuster online like I did or I believe it is widely available from shops like HMV or Play.com.

      Highly recommended, give it a watch!

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        01.07.2012 17:46
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        Not the best film

        This film is a bit weird. In the sense there is almost no overlying plot, the only theme of the film is to survive. That is all.
        The film follows a dad and his son in a sort of post apocalyptic world where most people have resorted to being cannibals. In this world many people have even resorted to kill themselves!

        Ok, there a few things that i didn't like about this film. Firstly, you never find out at any stage what caused this post apocalyptic world. Was it global warming? War? No idea... there is no reference to it at all. Even when the dad has flashbacks, to when things started to go wrong, all you really see him is him talking to his wife saying we can get through this. I dunno, i found it really lame that you never find out what happened.

        Another thing I didnt like is that there is no main scriptline. Other than just to find food. The heroes just go from area to area, escaping cannibals, and contemplating suicide and looking for food. Although on the face of it this sounds really good, it kinda gets old after about 30 minutes of this, let alone 1 hr 30 mins of it (i am not joking the whole film is like this).

        Anyway, this film is more about the social stresses put on society. Towards the end, the little boy starts to almost rebuild society in small ways, by helping people, but it really is too little too late, and the acting is not brilliant from the child in the film (not blaming the actor, but his arguments don't hold "water".

        Anyway, there are a few cool bits in this film, I just find the way there are canibals everywhere kinda cool, but most of the time they must be really stupid, because all the heroes have to do is hide behind a tree/under a rock and they seem to have escaped...


        Anyway, I wasn't a big fan of this film, not one to watch really, as there is no overall plot, and the lack of explanation of various parts of the film really ruins it (for example the heroes find a random underground bunker full of food, but obviously the owner had other things to do in a post apocalyptic world other than hide in a magnificiant underground bunker he spent loads on to build???)

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          28.05.2012 11:19
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          An engrossing take on a post-apocalyptic tale of a father and sons journey to find food and safety.

          The Road is a bleak, disturbing 2009 film directed by John Hillcoat and written by Joe Penhall. This post-apocalyptic drama is based on the 2006 award winning novel of the same name by author Cormac McCarthy. Unfortunately, despite the book having been placed on my wish list for quite some time, I failed to come across it before giving in to a HD television premiere of the film, and therefore this review is based solely on the opinion of someone who had no prior knowledge of the story. I will not, therefore, discuss any deviations from the novel, or thereupon comment on any execution based on the original material. This review should therefore be useful for any potential viewers who wish not to delve into the work beforehand.

          The Road is a tale of a father (Viggo Mortenson) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) trying to survive in a collapsed civilisation. Those who are left in the world are left in hunger, with humanity falling to its darkest levels of cannibalism. Those who are 'good' barely survive through scavenging, the intention of these two individuals. The Road refers to their journey, both emotionally and physically, as the two travel Southward in hope of greater shelter, warmth and materials to ensure their survival and safety in this wasteland world. The man carries a revolver with just two bullets, a way out for the both of them if they felt the need to commit suicide. Suicide is in fact the way the young boy's mother left them, a story of which we are shown through flashbacks to a time in which their family was whole, and of which the world was alive and well.

          Dystopian tales such as this are not wholly original; we are treated or otherwise to similar stories of life and death in such films as I Am Legend and The Book of Eli. What differentiates this particular movie, however, is its ability to feel somewhat raw in its depiction of what is, of course, unreal. Perhaps it is its ambiguity, its ability to let us question it so much, which helps in this case. We do not, for example, learn of the specific catalyst of this collapse of civilisation, and we do not, therefore, know in which year, month or day it takes place. While I personally appreciate this, feeling it makes this movie a real 'thinker', it may irritate some viewers. This film is not one for those who wish for every loose string to be tied.

          I believe that what we witness is chillingly identifiable, each afraid and reduced person the pair come across easily identifiable with a neighbour, or other persons we meet day to day. The leads we follow are very well played and incredibly engrossing. The young boy and man, again their names left to our imaginations, each bring something that allows us to be moved and informed throughout the story. In many ways we look upon this land with childlike manner, unable to understand or predict without the guidance of an elder, and the man is that important person who, while guiding his child, answers the questions both the boy and us are anxious for answers to. For example, while standing at the edge of the land, looking to the sea, the boy asks the man of what lands and people may be across the waters. Of course, at the heart of this tale is the love and absolute devotion shared between the man and his boy, and we are often treated to delightfully moving moments in which the pair bond. In any other story, perhaps it would seem strange for a stand out moment to be a young boy tasting Cola for the first time. In this, his eyes light up with wonder, as his father shares with him something from times before him. It is strangely beautiful, a reminder that sometimes we do not realise how lucky we are to have what may seem like the smallest of little joys in our lives without worry.


          Despite the ambiguity of the film, it does, with subtety, delve into some of the questions we may wonder. Religion is sometimes treated as a forbiddon question in stories such as this, for example, but here we are brought into the characters beliefs and understandings of religion on occasion. An example scene is one in which the pair make a discovery of materials which may aid their survival, and while humanity may sometimes choose to 'thank God', instead the man and boy 'thank the people' in a similar message. However, they are later seen to use religious grounds as confinement to shelter from the outside world, a crossed window clearly shown bringing them appropriate light. Whether this attempts to potray a subtle connection between their ideas of safety linked with religion is purely up to the viewer, but it is there to think about.

          Despite a young lead, this film is not suitable for minors. Rated a 15 in the UK, the Road features some gore and close ups of injuries, although respectfully, much of the violence is simply suggestive, perhaps heard through screams in the distance, and seen through moving cameras. I would say that the violence is tasteful, not too few and not too much. There is a lot of blood on show, but nothing quite sickly.

          The makeup artists have done a fantastic job. Nothing is quite as annoying as a hip Hollywood actor showing their beaming white teeth in a tale such as this. Instead, each person appears dirty, their nails catching mud, their teeth yellowed and rotten. Although deserving of its praise, dystopian movie the Hunger Games never managed to show its characters as hungry. Through special effects no doubt, it is unmistakeable here. In one scene, the boy lifts his shirt to reveal a disturbingly apparent rib cage. Once again, the film really made me believe in what it was trying to convey, although often it is instead through more subtle acting, for example the shaking frame of an older traveller of which the pair befriend. The CGI models and sets used really finish this film to a top level. While empty and dead, the land is unmistakably our own. It is a sad sight, an emotion continued with a somewhat grey-to-sepia vision throughout the 115 minute running time.

          The running time of the film, however, is from my point of view overlong. Although comparably average for a movie running time in this day and age, for a film so stretched with its material, it does seem to last longer than it actually is. I cannot help but feel it is slow. Sometimes the pacing seems rightfully so, but at others I could not help but want for it to move forward some more.


          I had known, upon adding the book to my wish list, that the novel is written in the 3rd Person. I was therefore surprised to find narration from the man throughout some small moments of the film. It was so few and far between, and uninterrupted key moments. After watching the film, I cannot think of anything that was of key understanding which I learned from this internal monologue. Whether it should have been removed entirely or added to would probably depend on the impression of the viewer. Personally, I feel it would have done perfectly fine without it. I already felt involved enough with the man and his child, as if I could understand his thoughts and potential next movements, without the need to fully read his mind.

          Over all else, this film relies heavily on the subjectivity of its viewer. It is definitely not the sort of film that would seem to appeal to anyone and everyone. It is, for example, deeply depressing. Someone looking to a film like this wishing for hope and love to conquer all will be left very much disappointed. Please, if you do view this film, do so with an open mind and without distraction. I do feel there is much to admire in it. Although I do not think it is a film quite worthy of repeated viewings, I do feel it is one worthy of at least a single viewing in one's lifetime.

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            09.04.2012 18:03
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            The Road is one word depressing.

            The Road directed by John Hillcoat, 2009 is a very dark a depressive movie that tells a story of a father and son trying to survive in a world with freezing cold weather, no food and most of the people left on Earth are 'Bad Guys'. The son in the movie refers to everyone that is evil as a'Bad Guy'. The movie is set in a corrupted world that looks like an empty war ground after battle. Its evident that a natural disaster has turned the world upside down in the movie but it not stated what kind of natural disaster has happened so that part is left to you imagination. The movie is based on the book of the same name written by Cormac McCarthy. I haven't actually read the book so cant comment on weather its good or not.

            The Movie stars Viggo Mortensen as the father and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the son. The strange thing about this movie is that none of the characters have names its through the connection between them that you realise who the characters are. This works in the movie because there is some outstanding performances in this movie so it makes it easy to comprehend who is who and what's going one. The characters are padded in multiple jackets and coats as their costumes throughout the whole movie. There are other characters in the movie that pop in and out on the father and sons travels. Most of the are 'Bad Guys' On there travels they find a food den, argue, get robbed, steal, almost get killed and many more obstacles.
            The Plot to the movie is a father and son patrol around the corrupted place trying to find food and shelter day by day trying to survive. The bond between the father and son is so strong that you feel it for both of them. There is not much to the plot really but as you watch through you realise that paranoia is what drives the to unsafety. The movie gives the worst possible life to the most kindest of characters. The movie really tugs at you heart strings as there is a point where father and song take or their clothes and they are pure skin and bones literately. I felt so sorry for them. I think that the plot does tend to drag along which I found annoying as I think movies with faster paces.

            The majority of the movie has a feel as there is no hope and things can only get worse This is one of the reason why I dont really like it and wouldn't really recommend it. I think its one of those movies that just drain you out and arnt enjoyable to watch.
            The movie is rated 15 and I do think this is a suitable age rage because on people younger than this probably wont like this kind of movie as its quite mature. I think this is also a suitable age range as well because there is profanity, violence, gore and nudity. The movie is 111 minutes long. The movie is available to buy on Amazon new and used from 80p even though I dont really the movie is worth a look.

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              01.06.2011 08:15
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              A man and his son attempt to survive in a post apocalyptic world

              I've been wanting to see "The Road" for ages, so when I finally got to sit down and watch it there was a lot of expectation for it to live up to.

              It made it, pretty much. It's not a movie that will excite a lot of sci-fi fans, mainly because it focuses almost entirely on the relationship between the central two characters, Viggo Mortensen's "Man", and Kodi Smit-McFee's "Boy". The sci-fi part is played by a lot of a grey landscapes and ruined buildings, but little in terms of real action. It's very much a human drama.

              In a post-apocalyptical world where all the animal and plant life has died, the sun is shrouded by endless clouds of dust and smoke and the temperature gets lower every day, a few people still survive, scavenging for what little food they can find.

              Haunted by dreams of his life in better times, the Man tries to protect the Boy as they head south, towards the coast and hopefully warmer weather. Every day is a struggle for food and there is danger in the form of bands of cannibals patrolling the road for other survivors.

              First up, the acting is great. Viggo Mortensen pulls out a classy performance where his desperation, sadness, and determination is almost tangible, and Kodi Smit-McFee is very believable as his son. Other characters are pretty thin on the ground though and barely have enough to do to even stir an opinion. Guy Pearce, for example, spends about three minutes on screen and while his accent is good and the makeup is believable, it's barely enough to consider more than a brief cameo. Oscar-winner Charlize Theron too, barely has any screen time, and what little she has (all in flashbacks) she spends looking worried and little else.

              The film is bleak, make no mistake. Without giving up the ending, in truth very little happens. It all seems rather allegorical, a play on the human condition, with scenes such as when the Boy convinces the Man to give back the clothes to a man billed only as "Thief" it comes across as simply a statement that even in such dire circumstances, where bands of people are eating other people, it is possible to maintain a shred of humanity.

              If I could change anything about the movie I would have added in a little more back story. For example, the world they walk through is almost entirely deserted, and whereas they come across a lot of skeletal remains there is no real mentioning of the days in the immediate aftermath of whatever happened, and the event that is only referred to in passing but vaguely, "There was a bright light in the sky ..." We don't know if it was a meteor, a nuclear war, or something else, but you figure that the characters might have some idea, and that it might be something that played on particularly the Man's mind from time to time. It's the same with his wife, billed only as "Woman". (spoiler coming up...) Apparently unable to take life anymore, she wanders off into the night ... and that's it.

              In its vagueness and hopelessness the film portrays quite accurately what life might actually be like in the aftermath of such a world-destroying disaster, but while this is interesting, as far as a being a movie it's left a little open. At times you got the feeling that you weren't watching a movie at all, but rather a possible version of the future, where there might not be a happy ending, or in fact an ending at all, and it's when you consider it in this light that the film obviously succeeds.

              Also on ciao.

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                18.02.2011 13:11
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                A bleak tale of survival for one man and his father.....

                I bought this recently in Tesco because I saw it was cheap, had heard mostly good things about it and had heard it had been nominated for awards and such like and so thought it must have something about it even though the subject matter, a boy wandering a post-apocalyptic landscape with his father, sounded a little grim.

                Then I saw the book in a charity shop and so bought and read that first. I was not impressed and, as those who have read my review will know, found the whole thing extremely depressing with no redeeming features whatsoever. Surely the film must be better, I thought, mustn't it?

                Sadly the answer is no or at least....yes, but only just! Without giving anything away, the film closely follows the same plot as the book with many of the scenes from there being faithfully and chillingly recreated here on film. But though visually it is quite impressive, the film is still every bit as bleak as the novel on which it is based and I found very little here to like! Viggo Mortensen here does what he can with such a stilted script but even he can't save this from total despair!! I ended up fast-forwarding to the dark and anticipated ending because I can began to lose the will to live watching this ~ it really is THAT depressing! And where the Director could have made a bold move and altered the climax to something a bit more upbeat, instead he makes the (possible) mistake of leaving things how they stand thus making this a film with one of the most bleak and miserable endings ever!

                There are a couple of rare upbeat moments in this film thast illustrate a little bit of hope. One I cannot reveal as it is too much of a spoiler and comes in the final scenes but the other occurs around mid-way through the film. After telling us by way of over-head voice-over that all but a few animals were gradually wiped out, there comes one scene where the boy and his father spot an insect; the first they have seen for many years possinbly indicating that maybe life is returning to the world. Still this is just one of a few instances in the whole film where anything hopeful or positive happens and is not enough to readdress the balance!

                I would say if you hated the book, then you will REALLY hate this. Seeing it on-screen is even more depressing than seeing it in your own head! If, however, you understood the message that this is less about enviromental and ecological diaster but more about the relationships between one man and his dad, then you may just get something out of it!

                For me though, this was one to avoid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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                  21.11.2010 14:10
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                  Death

                  ----------------------------
                  Star - Vigo Mortensen
                  Genre - Disaster movie
                  RuN-TiMe - 111 minutes
                  Certificate - 15
                  -------------------

                  The Man: The clocks stopped at one seventeen one morning. There was a long shear of bright light, then a series of low concussions. ...


                  Believe it or not but the world was indeed on the brink at the peak of the banking crisis to become a real Hollywood disaster movie. But because that reality would only ever be a movie script then we don't believe it would happen. Fortunately, like a nuclear war, it was mutual destruction for the banks and the governments if they didn't bail each other out and so the cash machines never did run dry. If they had there would have been armed soldiers by every bank. A friend of mine is a bank employee and he said they did receive an email that was just three hours away on black Monday. Baring that in mind Hollywood has cashed in big time on the prevailing mood, as it does every recession, end of the world disaster movies big earners in the multiplexes once again, 2012 and Transformers 2 (the latter a seriously disastrous movie) extremely lucrative for the studios, The Road comfortably the best of them. In fact this film was going to come out at the height of the financial crisis but, rather ironically, the studio had the same money troubles so it was delayed a year.

                  The Road is a rather brooding and foreboding dystopian vision of the future, the unexplained catastrophe the pulse of the movie but not the reason, based on the seminal Pulitzer Prize winning book by one of Americas most celebrated authors, Cormac McCarthy. With the rather intense Vigo Mortenson in the lead it gives this even more credence to it, little Kodi Smit-McPhee, who plays his son alongside on screen, also good. When the wrong elements come together in the big budget end of the world disaster genre it can be exactly that, 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' and 'The Happening' examples of how not to do it, but when you cleverly mix Sci-Fi and drama with a solid intelligent screenplay, as is John Hillcoats here, an interesting and atmospheric piece of filmmaking emerges.

                  ----The Cast----

                  Viggo Mortensen ... Man
                  Kodi Smit-McPhee ... Boy
                  Charlize Theron ... Woman
                  Robert Duvall ... Old Man
                  Guy Pearce ... Veteran
                  Molly Parker ... Motherly Woman
                  Michael K. Williams ... Thief
                  Garret Dillahunt ... Gang Member
                  Michael K. Williams ... Thief

                  ---The Plot---

                  America, and presumably the rest of the world, has been hit by an unknown apocalypse, the land derelict and covered in a gentle film of ash, every day the earth getting darker, colder and greyer....The food source has all but gone and the few people left are scraping around in the dirt and debris of civilization for any remaining morsel to stay alive, and the more desperate resorting to cannibalism, meaning a total collapse in civilisation.

                  A Father (Mortensen) and son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) have been walking across America for a long time now, starving and frightened, only driven on by memories of the past and their beautiful mother and wife (Charlize Theron) and the idyllic life they once lived before disaster struck, the boy born just after 'the event'. They won't find that solace at the end of their journey but they have to find something to keep going on for, dad having a pistol with two bullets if they cant go on and so likely to be someone else's dinner.
                  From the constant flashbacks we learn mom is long gone and it's been 6 years since the cataclysmic event, the death of the planet slow and painful, occasional eruptions of flame and distant rumblings the only clues we have to what caused it, the ominous tremor of the soundtrack only a hint to what is happening to the earth.

                  After surviving an attack by some savages, using up one of their bullets, they scramble through the woods to safety. Dad is determined for both of them to stay on the metaphoric road to an unknown destination, the gruelling journey now just as much about teaching his son to survive when dad is no more to actually getting to some place of safety, the real horror of the movie. They occasional do find some sanctuary, one place rather ironic, an unused survivalist bunker stacked full of fresh food that could last them for months, a good place to die. But for some reason they press on and weeks turn to months, meeting the odd person on the road, some good (Robert Duvall) and some more desperate then them (Michael K. Williams), but the constant threat of those armed savages reason enough to get to the end of their almost spiritual journey, death not redemption for the decisions father and son take likely to be it at the end of it, grim stuff indeed.

                  -----Quote-----

                  Old Man: "whoever made humanity will find no humanity here"
                  -----------------

                  ---The Result---

                  This is just as much a love story between father and son as it is that end of the world woe, a refreshing take on the genre away from the usual preposterous special effects driven Armageddon stuff we get spoon fed every year, The Road a tough watch, so grim it recouped just half of its $20 million budget. With all these expensive TV series knocking around like The Event and Flash Forward, full of attractive 30 something people in tight jeans, it is great to get down and dirty with a grittier and more realistic adventure on what it would be like if all else was lost.

                  If you have just lost your dad or someone close to you recently then this may not be for you, the ending certainly brining a tear or two, this not formulaic in any way and so don't expect a group hug at the end. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee have great chemistry on screen to involve you in the intense human drama and the father and son bond convinces. Their can be no greater responsibility for a man than having kids, the tenderness always about looks and jokes over touching and hugging between father and son, what the two actors convey brilliantly here. They apparently ate roasted crickets together on a camping trip just before filming to get to know each other to firm up that bond.

                  In the reasonably interesting extras for once the writer talks about his book being about stripping away everything mankind has in the grimmest of situations as possible and see if love can survive and build a new society. There are biblical connotations here as there were in 'The Book of Eli' with Denzil Washington, a similar journey, but this a far more gothic and grim experience. It's heartbreaking, haunting, and emotionally shattering from start to finish, the soundtrack as creepy as you can get on film; at times rather too depressing as it makes you think about whats it all for and is death this blackness on the screen.

                  Like Schindlers List the film uses color to great effect in the grey world, their dreams the only place they can find a summers day now. The simple act of dusting away dirt on a sofa to reveal embroidery has a powerful effect, hope right there, as does what will become one of the greatest product placements in film history, the iconic red n white Coca Cola can plucked from a broken vending machine for his son to enjoy. Coca Cola original said they didn't want their product to be associated with such a melancholic moment but soon backed down when they realised the significance of it and that their can had not only survived the apocalypse but was still rather tasty.

                  The central premise to the film, the unknown event that has happened, is perhaps the biggest frustration for some. Theres no hint in the film why it happened, just the elements of fire, water, earth and air on your screen and so left to you to decide. When Greenpeace commented on the film they said it was a nuclear winter as a result of global warming, yet another contradiction from the hippies as cold is the toughest element in the film. I personally think the disaster itself is irrevent and this is about mankinds need to self-destruct as that's the only way mankind can move forward. If your not chasing something you're the chased, someone important once said, a film well worth persuing in the rental stores if you want your film not to patronise you all the time by telling you all the answers.

                  --------Ratings---------

                  Metacritic.com - 64% approval rating
                  Imdb.com - 7.4/10 (43,234 votes)
                  Rottentomatos.com - 75% approval rating
                  --------------------------


                  = = = Special Features = = =

                  -The Making of The Road-

                  A bit 'luvvie' between author and actor talking about the inspirations for the film but ok stuff.

                  -Walking into Darkness-

                  Special effects and stuff-

                  -Gallery-

                  = = = = = = = = =

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                    11.11.2010 11:00

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                    Sporadically great occasionally annoying always dawnting post-apocalyptic movie.

                    Lovely bleak future movie. A valuable addition to the cinematic apocalypse genre - I'd say on a level with Omega Man or Day of The Dead (though not in the league of Dawn of The Dead, The Beach or Children of Men).

                    The scripting of the boy was a little rudimentary: It wasn't very easy as a filmgoer to believe in his great value. But look, kids in films are always problematic. There's annoyingly sweet or there's menacing, and otherwise there's only unengaging.

                    Fact is, I've not read the book, but short of going all out arthouse I'm not sure what could have been done differently / better. And it could have been much worse. Much much worse. I started imagining a Speilberg version on the bus-ride home, with a cutsie Hollywood girl in place of the boy, Tom Hanks as the guy, a hopeful, colourful butterfly motif running through the whole film and a gushing John Williams score.

                    Now that would be bleak.

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                    14.10.2010 15:15
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                    A fathers struggle to get his son to safety

                    In post apocalyptic America a father tries to save his son and take him to a better place. He walks alone with his son through dangers and the threat of being captured by the gangs of cannibals and he only has a pistol with 2 bullets to save them both.

                    The journey is long and hard as the weather is not on their side but they stay strong for each other. The father is also plagued by memories of his life before this happened and the choice his wife took to leave them. Can the father take his boy to the coast and will there be safety and warmth waiting for them?

                    The story for this film was one which I was quite interested in as I had heard good things about the film. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it but a lot who I have talked to about the film did not feel the same way. The story was not excellent but it was made interesting enough for me and I found I was kept entertained and interested from start to finish. The flashback we got to the lie the father had before the disaster was good as it meant we got to know a bit about him and why he was so protective of his son. I did find some of the flashbacks quite moving though.

                    The acting was superb and the lead role of the father was played by Viggo Mortensen. He played the part so well and I was instantly able to warm to him and feel he was genuine with his love and affection for his son. He did not come across in any bad way and I felt he seemed honest with the delivery of all his lines. There was a good chemistry between him and his son and I found the strength and love he managed to show very touching. He showed a lot of emotions throughout the film and they all came across very well. The role of the son was played by Kodi Smith-McPhee and he too played a great part. I felt so sorry for him as he had no knowledge of the life we lived before the disaster and I loved how he would become just a normal small boy at times when he found a toy or something of interest. He worked well with the role of his Father and they seemed to really gel together. He did not show as many emotions as his father but there were still some present ad just the right amount to make me fell so much for this lost young boy.

                    We had a few support actors in the film, Robert Duvall played an old man and he was good in the role and also Guy Pearce made an appearance towards the end of the film. There were only a few extra characters and we did not really get to know any of them but I found this helped with the story and showed just how lonely the world had become.

                    The majority of the film was dark and dull, we had no colourful scenes of rolling hills or fields and for me the start of the film was just slightly too dark and I did have trouble seeing what was happening. It did lighten slightly and I was able to see the characters but don't expect nice views as the pair travel across America. The portrayal of the landscape after the supposed Apocalypse was good and how I imagine it would look with dust and ash everywhere and house destroyed and devastated. I did think the appearance of the cannibals was a little far fetched and their clothes were slightly daft as to me they would just be wearing the normal clothes they had.

                    The special effects which were used were great and really fitted into the film very well, there was no point when I saw a badly added back drop or dodgy effect and I thought that they were in keeping with the basic story and not over the top. The music was also very good and quite moving at times, it really helped setting the mood and emotions for the scenes and I think the music director, Nick Cave deserves a lot of credit for this soundtrack as it was moving and touching yet powerful at the same time.

                    The DVD which we have does have some bonus features which include:-

                    Audio Commentary by Director John Hillcoat
                    'Walking into Darkness' John Hillcoat's The Road' Documentary
                    The making of The Road
                    Stills Gallery

                    I have not watched any of these so I am not able to make comment on them.

                    This film is based on a book by the same name but I have not read this so I am not able to make any comparisons as to how good or different the film was.

                    The running time of the film is 111 minutes and I did find this to be a good length and the rate is a 15 and I think this is very suitable as there are some disturbing scenes. We paid £7 for the DVD from Tesco and I think it is well worth this price.

                    I am happy to give this film a good solid 4 stars. The story was moving and interesting and the acting was superb. I would not say this is a film to watch if you want some light hearted entertainment but it is definitely one to get you thinking and appreciating what you have.

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                      26.09.2010 21:28
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                      A cautionary tale for the consequences of human idiocy.

                      Based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name, this film portrays a father and son's harrowing plight for survival in post-apocalyptic America. The grim subject matter and unerring sepia and granite landscape make for some fairly desolate but ultimately rewarding viewing.

                      The father, played by Viggo Mortenson, and son, Kodi Smit-McPhee, are lovingly fused in their quest to reach the coast. The road to their destination is fraught with danger, mainly in the form of cannibalistic gangs. Apart from the relative, assumed, sanctuary of the coast it is not really explained why they covet their destination so much. Maybe it is a symbolic reversal of the American Dream, whereby the enigma of arrival is supplanted by that of hopeful departure?

                      The cinematography reveals this barren, battered world and it is very hard to imagine a happy ending. But the human spirit portrayed by the pair is sometimes rewarded, albeit ephemerally, buy such treasures as a can of coke and, more helpfully, a food-filled underground bunker with a comfortable sleeping quarter. Alas, such pots of gold are inevitably transient due to finite supply and impending danger in the face of their continued survival.

                      The occasional use of flashback reveals their former family life with the wife and mother who has disappeared. She survived the nuclear attack but her broken spirit led her to flee and,presumably, die. There is no actual proof of her death during her husband's narrative, so I wondered at this point whether or not they may be re-united at some point?
                      Father and son, who remain nameless, set out on their gruelling mission armed with some ragged clothes, a pistol and a couple of bullets. There is no real 'plot' to speak of but this is possibly intentional in order to portray at once the strength and the fragility of the human condition in the face of interminable and almost futile existence.

                      They skirt danger several times along the way by almost running into some of the gangs. One scene is particularly disturbing when they happen upon a seemingly derelict house, only to discover a basement full of zombie-like beings, a gruesome living larder for the cannibals. Another occasion sees them witness a baying gang closing in on a helpless mother and child. This particular scene has more grisly emphasis because it is not gratuitous. Just before they are caught the camera cuts away and only screams are heard. The director credits us with using our imagination, and this suggestiveness makes the victims fate seem all the more chilling.

                      Much of the hope in the film is drawn from the son, whose whining and crying initially got on my nerves. However, he seems to become more galvanised and commendably retains a strong sense of morals. His father tries to 'toughen him' up to prepare him for survival in this unprecedented climate. Nevertheless, Smit-McPhee's character emerges with great credit, albeit via forthright naivety. This is evidenced on a couple of occasions when they run into solitary drifters. His persuasion to offer food and clothing to them, even when they themselves have been wronged by one of them, is almost fable-like. His persuasion in getting his more pessimistic/realistic father to renege on his decisions is impressive, and illustrates humanity in the face of extreme adversity. The pair are driven on by 'the fire inside', the father's phrase, which has lodged deep in his boy's psyche.


                      The performances of Mortenson and, particularly, Smit-McPhee are absolutely compelling. Despite their high profiles Theron, as the wife and mother, Duvall, as elderly drifter Eli, and Pearce are only involved in protracted cameos, but do not disappoint.

                      In a world where even the sea is murky brown and the days are cloaked in eternally grim twilight it beggars the question 'would you not be better off dead?' The fact that there are any chinks of light in the film is amazing. Perhaps the overriding victory of the human condition is the loving bond between father and son, and the consequential value and worth that life assumes as a result of this.

                      The lingering legacy it left me with was one of feeling very grateful for my own life. However difficult, humdrum or mundane things may seem I will never moan again, to the same extent anyway, about what is, relatively, small fry.

                      Amid some of the candy floss out there, this is a difficult but rewarding and important film that we really all should make the effort to see.

                      Cast
                      ****
                      Viggo Mortensen
                      Kodi Smit-McPhee
                      Robert Duvall
                      Guy Pearce
                      Charlize Theron


                      Running time:
                      ***********
                      107 minutes approximately

                      Certificate 15:
                      ***********
                      Contains infrequent strong violence, language and gory images.

                      DVD extras:
                      **********
                      Audio commentary by Director John Hillcoat,"Walking into Darkness": John Hillcoat's 'The Road' Documentary. The making of The Road. Stills Gallery.

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                        23.07.2010 01:26
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                        Harsh and stark look at a post apocalyptic America

                        The Road is a very desolate and slow moving film that takes a look at a fictional post-apocalyptic society in which mere survival is your biggest challenge. Viggo Mortensen is very good as the father who must nurture his young son and look after him, preparing him for the worst at the same time as keeping the light shining inside. It's a hard film to watch, but very well made.

                        I hadn't read anything about this when I first sat down to watch it. I got the impression, from the main front picture of Mortensen and his on screen son, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, that it wasn't going to be a feel good film, and probably had something to do with having to walk a hell of a lot; but beyond that I knew nothing. Aside from brief flashbacks through dreams or memories of Mortensen, we're never completely told what happened, although a great fire raged and burned out most of life as we know it: trees, plants, people, everything, leaving a small number of people and little hope.

                        This area is not dwelled upon, as it is only really in the thought digressing parts of the character's on screen activity that we get it. Instead, the film is full of the dull and depressing visuals you'd expect from a post-apocalyptic world. The scenery, clothes, mood and weather and brown and grey, and director John Hillcoat has made sure that these are the dominant colours throughout. Acting is good from Mortensen and Smit-McPhee, and within the flashbacks, the scenes between Mortensen and his wife (played by Charlize Theron) are quite painful to watch. This is not a bad thing, but it's merely the uncomfortable subject matter. The main focus is on these two male leads, although there are brief but effective from other actors, such as Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce. The focus, though, is really on the relationship between a father and his son, and how love must conquer all.

                        The film begs the question what would happen were something like this to occur. As painful as it is to realise, we all take for granted what we have around us, and the film shows us that what keeps us going the most are the family members and friendships that we have and build upon in our lives. The use of silence in the film, as the man and boy make their way across America in the hope of finding something better at the coast, means that it's a film you have to watch, and not just rely on the characters' dialogues for info. This makes you concentrate more, and increases the power the film and its messages of destruction and despair can bring.

                        I recommend the film, and it is very well made indeed. However, it's possible the worst film you could watch if you were down and needed perking up. It certainly won't do that for you. Decent acting, good direction, and a well written script, with powerful moments for sure, this is something to watch when you're in an artistic and appreciative mood. Desolate from start to finish, yet powerfully made, The Road will be a film you're unlikely to forget in a hurry. Recommended.

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                          14.07.2010 16:48
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                          Not for everybody

                          Even though it has been two weeks since I have seen The Road, I still find it hard to shake off the terrible feeling of desolation and despair that it evoked in me. The whole concept of a world that is almost dead, symbolised by dry and brittle trees that crash down on every side; a humanity that has become worse than animals, eating one another without conscience to satisfy the terrible hunger - all of this seems much too close for comfort.

                          The type of apocalypse which has turned the world into a sterile empty shell is unclear and somewhat irrelevant. The loss is total and irreversible, and there is no hope of redemption. Firestorms light up the horizon, nothing can grow, and there is nothing to eat. In the midst of this devastation are a man and his son, both nameless, who are driven to be constantly on the move - on the road heading south in the hope of finding milder weather. Dragging their belongings behind them in a supermarket trolley, they look like tramps who have spent years living on the street. We learn that they live in fear of being caught by the desperate gangs of men who will certainly rape the boy before eating them both. All of their family and friends have died, either by suicide or violence - but for some reason these two lost souls continue, driven on to who-knows-where with faint hope still flickering inside them.

                          This is a slow-moving film, interspersed with flashbacks to a happier time in between scenes of pure horror. Because we have time to look deep into the souls of the two protagonists, we feel their fear and their despair. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next attack or the next threat. The boy still has some trust and humanity left in him, and forces his father to stop for an act of random kindness towards a blind old man, played by Robert Duvall. Throughout these scenes, I felt as the father felt, waiting for the betrayal, the violence - always looking over my shoulder and unable to trust. The boy's mother is briefly played by Charlize Theron, entirely in the form of flashbacks. She symbolises a time of happiness and sunshine, when family life was normal and troubles were inconsequential. Her descent into despair is very moving, and although we do not see a great deal of her, she brings balance and perspective to the film.

                          The one thing that makes The Road something more than a sci-fi thriller or a horror flick, is the depth of the relationship between the man and his son. The tenderness of their bond and the vulnerability of a terrified young boy who had lost his mother and all normality, is portrayed with incredible sensitivity by both Vigo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee. In a world that is totally terrifying for both of them, they are each the only thing worth living for. If one of them were to die, the other would not be far behind.

                          Director John Hillcoat has done a fantastic job of putting Cormac McCarthy's novel onto film. The sense of lawlessness, the fear, the horror of cannibalism - all faithfully translated. Vigo Mortensen is barely recognisable; grey, grim, and bearded, he leaves no doubt in the viewers mind that he would use the precious last bullet that he carries in his gun to kill his son and save him from the horror.

                          Why did this film have such an impact on me? The only answer can be that I believe it could happen, and that if it does happen, the world will become exactly like The Road. Most post-apocalyptic films of this type have some hope, some unattainable goal that will bring a smile to your face. This film has none of this, but nevertheless it is totally watchable.

                          The Road was released on dvd in 2010, and is rated a 15.

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                            18.06.2010 07:50

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                            I'd say it's a hit or miss type of movie, you'll either love it or be bored by it, so watch and see.

                            This was a bit of a dull watch, in all honesty and whilst it was good most of the way through the ending was a bit of a let down. I also didn't understand why the little boy kept calling his father 'papa' but it ended up really annoying me as a contrived way of pulling heart strings. There are some moments where this movie is good, but I wouldn't advise you to go racing out to buy it. However, I'd say it's perhaps worth a watch, not as a top-title, but maybe as something to watch on a boring afternoon.
                            Having given it a bit of a bad review up until this point, I'd say in favour of it that they've obviously put a good amount of time into making this look realistic and although their situation is never quite explained, I would assume this was some post-apocalyptic survival movie. I don't know if there's really much else to it, apart from the whole hardened old man and naive young boy trying to put some emotion back into his stressed to the limit 'paw paw'.

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                            15.06.2010 21:42
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                            Excellent wach. Highly recommended

                            Science fiction filmmaking doesn't get more profound or moving than The Road. Indeed, it embodies everything the genre is supposed to be about, using hypothetical supposition to illuminate the deepest truths of the human condition. The scenario it posits has been explored a thousand times before (the end of the world and what happens afterwards) but rarely has it seemed so chillingly believable. So too does its earnest defense of basic humanism--in our ability to hold onto our souls, even in the most appalling circumstances--resonate with raw, unvarnished strength.

                            We never learn what causes the film's apocalypse, but whatever it is, it's as bad as they come. Plant and animal life is essentially extinct; the trees have all died and great forests of them now crash down one by one into the ash-strewn landscape. There are no more governments or social organizations. Those few humans who survive are reduced to scavenging among the ruins, hoping for an odd can of peas... or else turning on their fellows to claim the only fresh meat available. The possibility of cannibalism deeply troubles the unnamed protagonist (Viggo Mortensen).

                            While he refuses to consider the possibility himself, he has a twelve-year-old son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to look after, and would rather put a bullet in both their heads than end up on someone's dinner menu. The two of them are heading south--from where or to where, we never quite know, save that things might be better where they're going. The need to find that hypothetical sanctuary counters the fatalistic realization that this may truly be the end, giving father and son alike the power to soldier on.

                            Director John Hillcoat envisions this world in a perpetual state of winter. The landscape remains uniformly gray, broken only by the remnants of our former civilization rapidly succumbing to the elements. Emaciated survivors prowl the fringes like living corpses, opting to survive by any means necessary and destroying who they are in the process. Like the best post-apocalyptic films, The Road recognizes perils beyond the mere physical, and with a child who literally means everything to him, Mortensen's hero is sore pressed to avoid them all. He has an instinct for survival, as evinced by earlier interactions with his wife (Charlize Theron) while the world crumbles around them. But in his battles with monstrosity, he runs the risk of becoming a monster himself: casting out decent souls who may need his help just because he can't trust them to play square with him. When blended with Mortensen's natural intensity, it creates a figure at once compelling and frightening, the perfect embodiment of this stunning global death rattle.

                            The overall plausibility of the vision accompanies strangely surreal moments, manifesting in a quieter subtext which ironically reinforces the film's realism. The rare occupied house takes on aspects of a fairy tale witch's abode, while approaching people look strikingly monstrous despite their comparatively normal faces. The original book by Cormac McCarthy is purportedly more overtly allegorical (I haven't read it), though it's hard to imagine his prose holding more devastation than the images on display here.

                            And yet even in the midst of the bleakest movie atmosphere in years, glimmers of something better arise. A junebug, a rainbow near a waterfall, an unexpected cache of food... small bursts of hope appear out of nowhere, sometimes preceding a moment of sheer horror but reminding us that the struggle is still worthwhile. That remains The Road's strongest asset: its refusal to submit to its own bleak view. It takes a huge effort to balance basic human dignity against a calamity so great: either one side or the other is bound to feel like a cop-out. But Hillcoat understands that the veracity of one hinges on the persistence of the other, binding them together in a way which strengthens both halves of the equation. It certainly doesn't make for light entertainment, but its power cannot be denied, and for all of its bleak content, the final equation proves surprisingly optimistic. Victory lies in the battle, not the resolution, and our own proclivities can either lift us through that coming night or hasten its arrival. It's all up to us: a message The Road delivers with impeccable perfection.

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                            25.05.2010 13:25
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                            Not recommended

                            The Road is a rather bleak and depressing film that you really have to be in the right mood to enjoy as it is heavy going. It is a disaster movie which follows a recent trend by having a largely unexplained event wiping out most of mankind and leaving a few desperate survivors trying to exist as the structure of society crumbles and conventional behaviour is cast aside.

                            In anresting twist none of the characters are given names in the film instead the story is about a father and son who are walking across America in an attempt to reach the coast as they have heard that life is not so harsh there, a sort of futuristic Grapes of Wrath journey.

                            Along the way they must avoid cannibals who look for meat as there is a lack of food around. Vigo Mortensson plays the dad and his son is played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, they develop a good relationship together and the acting is to a high standard in this film. It is safe to say that teh film is hardly a feel good movie and I found it tough going, the story moves along at a much too slow pace for me and not enough happens in the film to make it interesting.

                            There are some quite harrowing scenes in the film including one where Mortensen shows his son how to end his own life if things get too bad. This does however help to give a sense of how helpless the main characters feel in the flm.

                            This is not a film I would recommend as it s too slow moving and not enough happens, the acting is the one big plus however the plot lets it down.

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