Oppressively Bleak ‘The Road’ Buries Great Viggo Mortensen Performance

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CHICAGO – The long-delayed and highly-anticipated adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” has moments of stark beauty and a typically fantastic lead performance from Viggo Mortensen, but the film ultimately misses its mark as a whole piece, coming off numbing its bleak, repetitive view of the end of the world instead of inspiring emotionally or creatively.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

In works like “All the Pretty Horses,” “No Country For Old Men,” and “The Road,” author Cormac McCarthy has made his opinion of the human race crystal clear. We are headed for our end days as a time of decency among human beings has gone away. His highly-acclaimed novel “The Road” was the ultimate in bleak nihilism, giving readers a glimpse of how difficult it will be to hold on to any shred of humanity if we continue down our current path.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Road” in our reviews section.

In the film based on McCarthy’s novel, adapted by writer Joe Penhall and director John Hillcoat, Mortensen plays “The Man” and Kodi Smit-McPhee plays “The Boy,” two of the last decent people left on the planet after an undefined worldwide disaster. Through flashback, we see that the father and son were once joined by “The Mother” (Charlize Theron) but she gave up on hope and wandered off to certain death.

The story that follows is a mostly episodic series of encounters in which the two leads try to find food instead of being turned into it by bands of roving cannibals. They must constantly keep moving past enemies (including Garret Dillahunt), other wanderers (including Robert Duvall), and even thieves (including Michael Kenneth Williams of “The Wire). The pair is headed for the coast. What will be there when they arrive? No one knows but they must keep moving to survive, wandering the physical and metaphorical road.

StarContinuing reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Road” review.

‘The Road’ stars Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, and Robert Duvall. It was adapted by Joe Penhall from the novel by Cormac McCarthy and directed by John Hillcoat. It opens on November 25th, 2009. It is rated R.

Viggo Mortensen stars in John Hillcoat's The Road, based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulizter Prize winning novel.
Viggo Mortensen stars in John Hillcoat’s The Road, based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulizter Prize winning novel.
Photo credit: Javier Aguirresarobe © The Weinstein Company, 2009.

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