It's playing in Greensboro at the Grande in Friendly Center. A few days ago fellow blogger Steven Glaspie and I caught it. He hasn't read the book. I read Cormac McArthy's novel twice this past summer and ever since have been dying to see the film adaptation starring Viggo Mortensen as the Man and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the Boy.
What did I think?
Three days later and I'm still feeling haunted by this film. The Road stands out in my mind as the best movie that came out in 2009 (and the one most deserving all the Oscars it can possibly garner). As brutal and visceral and empathetic as the original book, The Road is ultimately a story about a father's unrelenting love for his child and having undying hope for tomorrow... even as one is in the midst of perishing. If you have read McArthy's No Country for Old Men or seen the movie of that book you will no doubt remember the theme of "carrying the fire". Well, in The Road McArthy expanded on that immensely and I'm pleased to note that it was also brought over into its own film.
I don't know whether to describe the cinematography in this movie as "beautiful" or "horrifying", but Javier Aguirresarobe and director John Hillcoat have certainly brought to stark life the post-apocalyptic wastes of The Road through America. Filmed in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oregon and Washington state, The Road is perhaps the most engaging and gripping glimpse of the day after yet committed to film. As in the book, we don't know what it was that caused the cataclysm. Was it man-made or natural disaster? It's not as much left to the viewer as it is that it simply isn't important to the story. The Man and his son are far too busy clinging to life and morality and their conservation of effort doesn't lend to exposition. I loved that about the book and I really appreciate that the filmmakers were well mindful of that.
I thought that The Road was one of the finest adaptations of a book that I've seen in much too long a time, and I'm looking forward to getting it on Blu-ray when it (probably) becomes available in a few months. But don't wait 'til then: check to see if The Road is playing in your area, and watch it during its theatrical run if you can.
Because a movie this good would have been well worth driving four hundred miles to see if I had to!