The Road

The Road

Dante Bean
Dante Bean

December 24th, 2009, 12:11 am #1

I gotta get it out of the way that I am a huge, huge fan of this book. And thats saying a lot, because reading it required me to turn a blind eye to that massive red flag that is the Oprahs Book Club selection sticker on the front. But Ive always dug the McCarthy books, so I forged ahead. It really deserves every iota of hype it got. Truly powerful stuff that I try to obnoxiously push on people who still havent read it. It shook me to the core, nearly in tears on the final page. If you have not read this book, you can finish it in a day or two and I highly suggest picking it up.
Now for the flick. I had feared the worst, because this was supposed to come out around Halloween2008. Never a good sign. But I love the Viggo, and a couple years back I had rented and greatly enjoyed a flick from this new director (John Hillcoat) called The Proposition. Then the trailer leaked, and it really looked like they turned this into an action packed Hollywood blockbuster akin to I Am Legend or something. But early screeners columns assured me that there was nothing to worry about, so I still held out hope. Thankfully, they pretty much nailed it.

For the uninitiated, The Road takes places in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (what has happened is never explained, because its irrelevant) where an unnamed man and his son battle fatigue, the elements and starvation as they try to reach the coast on foot, trying to live and avoid a handful of crazed survivors turned roving cannibals. All the while carrying a pistol. Two bullets. Not to fight off a horde but to take their own lives in the event that they are captured to spare being raped and eaten. The action is sparse (but hits like a ton of bricks when it comes) and is more about the relationship between the cynical father and his optimistic son.

There are people who will tell you that this is a bleak, depressing story. To a degree they are right but they are overlooking the message and the humanity. The movie mostly consists of sparse dialogue between father and son as they pillage abandoned structures for something to live on. But it really speaks to the talents of everyone involved, both on page and film, that the most mundane tasks leave you with baited breath.

They nailed the look of this flick too. This is exactly what I had envisioned as I read it. For a relatively small flick, it looks like they had some big money behind it to pull this off.
Not to say there are no faults here. The mans wife (Theron) shows up in flashback form, and those are slightly expanded here, and not necessarily for the better, but I cant say they hurt it either. The boy who plays, the boy, got on my nerves from time to time, hes too much of a whiner on screen and as a result a bit of the message from the character in the novel is lost in translation.

3 Things I Liked About This Movie:
-It is the novel come to life. Thats as much as anyone could ask for.
-They dont coat it in Hollywood glitz and let an already powerful story speak for itself.
-They harness a Hitchcock-ian style of intensity by inaction

3 Things I Didnt Like About This Movie:
-The boy was a slight miscast
-Flashbacks seem expanded just to give Theron more face time
-A years worth of re-editing made it feel a bit choppy at times. Id like to see the original print.


All in all awesome flick. Doesnt improve upon the original source material the way No Country for Old Men did, but this is a bigger challenge and is in no way a disservice to fans.
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Joined: June 14th, 2004, 3:49 pm

December 30th, 2009, 10:49 pm #2

So I recently bought "the road" in a barnes & noble run and it's sitting next in my queue (pile of books on my dresser). I'm almost done "9 kinds of naked" which is interesting in a forced new age hippie kind of way but all in all it's not really my cup of tea. I'm just saying this book better friggin deliver because so far out of the batch of 10 books the first five have been mediocre to decent, I need a winner damn it!

P.S. 9 kinds of naked isn't any kind of porno book, and it was recommended after doing extensive research on authors like Kurt Vonegut, unfortunately it hasn't really hit that mark for me. I can see the humor in it, but I'm not really buying.
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Dante Bean
Dante Bean

December 30th, 2009, 11:18 pm #3

Lemme know how you like it. Have you read any of his other books?
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Joined: June 14th, 2004, 3:49 pm

December 30th, 2009, 11:21 pm #4

Nope first one should I pregame with a different one first?
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Dante Bean
Dante Bean

December 31st, 2009, 12:19 am #5

I wouldn't. The style is a bit different, but believe it is the best. He mostly does things with a kind of old west theme, even if it's in a modern world (No Country), this is absolutely not. But being new it won't exactly throw you for a loop either.
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CapsLock
CapsLock

January 10th, 2010, 5:45 pm #6

I really liked the book. It was a slow read for me, though. I couldn't plow right through it. The grammar gimmicks he used got on my nerves a little.

I haven't seen the movie. I was surprised by the lack of promotion, at least in my neck of the woods.

Anyway, I enjoyed this review. Would you say it's a must on the big screen or would it be about as good on DVD?
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Joined: March 22nd, 2007, 1:50 pm

January 10th, 2010, 6:01 pm #7

'..surprised by lack of promo..' interesting point Caps - The only place this played in my area was the awesome snoot theatre where you can get a bottle of chardonnay with your film - When I first saw the trailer I assumed it would get a wide release.

(You know how if you buy the large drink at the cinema you get free refills? Well, that's unfortunately not the case with beer and wine at snoot-cinema.)
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Dante Bean
Dante Bean

January 10th, 2010, 6:17 pm #8

It didn't get any real promo true enough. One, they don't know how to sell it. Father son flick? Action adventre? Horror? And two, it went through development hell. It isn't even in wide release yet, and it may never be, but I know it was originally supposed to come out in the second quarter of 2008.
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CapsLock
CapsLock

January 10th, 2010, 6:30 pm #9

I get the feeling The Book of Eli is a half-assed ripoff of The Road. I have zero desire to see Denzel being Denzel in a pre or post apocalyptic world.
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Dante Bean
Dante Bean

January 10th, 2010, 10:10 pm #10

Not at all. Similar setting, I guess. But that's where it's going to end.

Of course I'm dying to see Book of Eli though.
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