If You Love Walking, Not Eating, & Dirt, You’ll Love “The Road”
This poster for “The Road” pretty much sums up the entire movie. The Man and his Boy walk, get dirtier and dirtier, and look cold. They intermittently find themselves in serious peril, but for the most part, they walk and look for food. That is exactly what I wanted to do around the half way point: Walk out of the theater and look for a place to eat dinner.
Let me just say how much I wanted this movie to work. My Viggo Mortensen man-crush hit an all time high after “Eastern Promises” and I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time before he wins Oscar gold. I had convinced myself that this role was going to be the one that did it for the guy. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The story is simple. We watch the daily lives of a Man (Mortensen) and his Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), as they struggle to find food and shelter in some sort of post-apocalyptic world. Not only do they have to deal with the extreme elements, they have to avoid almost every other human being that they come across as most of humanity has turned to cannibalism in order to survive. Their only protection from these crazed people eaters is a pistol that only contains two bullets, which the Man has saved just in case things get really bad for he and his son.
Sadly, that is about it. The two of them walk from place to place, avoiding roving gangs of blood-thirsty people, looking for food, and talking about how things will be better once they reach the southern U.S. coast. They bring up morality issues, which there are plenty of. Will they ever eat people? Why don’t they help some of the people that they meet? How much willpower does it take to keep going, even when all hope is lost?
As you can probably tell, this is not “The Blind Side”. If you are into seeing an uplifting story about humanity, this is not it. Not every movie needs to have a sunny ending, but there just isn’t any emotional connection with these characters and this movie completely hinges on getting that connect. I think that the flashbacks that show the Man’s wife (Charlize Theron) were an attempt at that, but it just doesn’t work.
It’s difficult to say that “The Road” is a bad movie. It’s not terribly good, but it’s not awful. It’s just…too boring and too depressing. When you thrown in the fact that the chemistry between Mortensen and McPhee had me wondering if their characters were really father and son, well, that’s not a good sign for a movie in which they are in every scene.