Checking Out The Road Ahead

I loved Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road – a bleak, broodingly creepy but fundamentally good hearted novel about a father’s determination to protect his son at the end of all things. It is unconventional though, and it doesn’t appear to be a book that would translate easily onto the big screen. It’s mysterious, haunting, and unrelentingly grim…I mean, this sounds exactly like the sort of thing Hollywood is going to balls up, right?

Maybe not.

Plenty can go wrong on The Road.

Plenty can go wrong on The Road.

Early reports suggest that this is shaping up to be a very literal, respectful adaptation of the winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Let’s hope so. The last thing we need is a repeat of what happened with I Am Legend – where they changed some key facts and tacked on some cheery feel-goodery so audiences felt more comfortable on their drive home. The Road isn’t that kind of book, and shouldn’t be that kind of movie, and anybody looking for light entertainment would probably be better off watching something else.

I like the decisions they have made with cast and crew, eschewing star power and going for people they feel confident can capture the right tone. Charlize Theron is probably the biggest name in the movie, but her “serious acting” credentials are pretty well known. Viggo Mortinsen seems like an outstanding choice for the father, and whilst he may not be known too well outside Australia, Director John Hillcoat showed in both The Proposition and Ghosts…of the Civil Dead (largely unknown but brilliant Australian flick from the late 80’s) that he is a man who appreciates mood and pacing. Fans of Nick Cave may also be interested to hear that he is composing the score, a job that on paper suits the dark prince of indie rock well.

Esquire Magazine’s Tom Chiarella is calling The Road The Most Important Movie Of The Year, which may be stacking a little too much pressure on it, but the article makes for a great read. The big question on everybody’s lips though – will audiences respond to a movie this dark and moody? Or will generations of film-fans who are used to their post-apocalyptic mayhem coming with Terminator style special effects walk out wondering what all the fuss was about?

Trailer Addict has previews for anybody wanting an early look at the trailer from The Road.

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