“The Road” more style than substance

A grim dystopia makes for some tough movie-going

| Jan 5, 2010


A scene from The Road

The Road is based on the 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, it stars Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, and it is a depressing story about two people traveling on foot to the ocean in the United States after some cataclysmic event has destroyed the world and left hardly any hope for the future.

hotshots-logoAnd if that isn’t depressing enough, along the way they see scenes of extreme destruction and desolation, they see terrible things both natural and as the result of other human beings who are still alive, and they do some terrible things themselves.

The two people are a man and his son, who is about 12 years old, the man believes that it is his job to kill anyone who touches his boy, and everything depends on their reaching the coast, where the man believes that living by the ocean will be better and easier than living inland is.

To set the mood for the audience, in a voice-over narration, the man says, “I think it’s October, but I can’t be sure. I haven’t kept a calendar in years.”

The man has a revolver with him, but it is not so much for protection as it is for some perverse sense of “survival.” He shows his son the two remaining bullets he has left and says, “Two left. One for you and one for me.”

Along the way, we see flashbacks to when the man was living with his wife and she was pregnant with their son, but even these scenes don’t represent happier times for the man, just times of less hardship and despair.

Whenever the man and the boy encounter other people, they usually have to hide from them, because the people are generally gangs of marauders who will take whatever they find that is useful to them and kill anything that isn’t useful. Not only that, but the gangs will also resort to cannibalism in order to have something to eat.

The man tells the boy that the two of them are the “good guys” and that they always will be no matter what happens to them. He says that they both carry the fire inside them, the desire to be good which makes them the good guys.

THE ROAD is more style than substance, and even the style is depressing.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”