THE ROAD, John Hillcoat (2009)

Since the last Cronenberg’s movies on which Viggo Mortensen has been the lead role, I try to follow his track and check what’s he’s doing. It’s not that I 100% trust his movies but sure I like his performances.

I heard of The Road by chance and watched it few weeks ago. What I didn’t know is that it’s based on a novel written by Cormac McCarthy, which has become a massive best seller and everybody is crazy about this book, even Charlize Theron got a small role for she had already worked with the director and because she fell in love with the story.

Few famous actors participate on this production although no one, apart from Viggo Mortensen and his fictional kid Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a predominant character, as if to support the story, for their roles could played by unknown actors without changing the effect of the film.

Well, The Road is a dark and pessimistic story of a father and his son, a desperate journey towards the coast  with the hope things will be better there and they will be able to start a new life out of the misery and emptiness the world has become, after a catastrophic sort of  apocalypse which left the world reduced to ashes and darkness.

Civilization, as was formerly known, has long disappeared , common resources have run out, and the daily routine has become an extreme survival exercise, searching for food and shelter. It’s like world was only inhabited by homeless people. There are no longer values, and many people in organized armed groups haunt other human beings for feeding so to survive, so nobody can trust no one.

With just a small pistol loaded with just two bullets, to be used in case of emergency, basically to blow their brains in an extreme situation, father and son will look forward to what they think could be a new beginning.

This is a great story for sure. I’ve got captured by the aesthetics, the pessimistic tone and the sadness involved.

Mortensen’s responsibility towards his son, once his wife has committed suicide, is both a burden and  a target, a living mark which leads where to follow day after day. The kid, educated with no external influence, has learnt good values, affection, goodness, piety…however doesn’t know anything about the mankind cruelty, envy nor betrayal, which seem to have taken control over the world. The kid tries his father be good, and his ingenuity sometimes brings them out to tough and dangerous situations. On the other hand love is the main reason for the man to stand by his son, love will encourage him to keep on walking towards the coast, for he wants something good to happen to the kid, who was born during the cataclysm or whatever that occurred to the world. He wants his son to know the sea, feel the fresh air and enjoy the sunlight.

Very evocative and very dramatic, while watching the movie you might  feel a knot on your belly, don’t worry, it happened to me, I really loved this movie, made me think about many things related to human kind. Are we good or bad? What if all that rules the world were vanished? What would happen? Sadly I gotta admit the answers were not very optimistic.

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