The Road  (2009)

I watch a lot of movies that could be described as "depressing" or "bleak", and I'm not entirely sure why I'm drawn to them. Sometimes I'm just tired of comedies, I'm tired of action, I'm tired of everything else and I just want to watch a sad movie that makes my soul hurt. Suffering can be good for the soul, and this movie certainly made my soul suffer.

"The Road" takes place ten years after a world-wide catastrophe. Flashbacks reveal some information, but never go further than the time immediately following the apocalyptic event. Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron play a married couple with a newborn, arguing with each other about how to go on in this new chaotic world. The mother doesn't want to raise a child like this, but the father wants to survive however he can. Mom makes her decision, leaving Dad and son to themselves, alone to face a broken down world.

Everything in this future is dead. The crops died, the animals died, the forests died. The dead trees dried up and burned relentlessly, covering everything in smoke and ash. The sky is sepia-toned. Many people died, and those left reverted to a lawless society. Thieves, rapists, and cannibals are everywhere. Father and son are trying to maintain their humanity, looking for shelter and food, looking for a safe haven, looking for someone they can trust.

Viggo Mortensen is solid, really able to portray the inner conflict of being a good role model to his young son versus killing and pillaging to survive. The son, however, drove me crazy. This is an incredibly harsh critique of a character, but he whined WAY too much. I just wanted to reach through the screen and smack him around a bit, yelling "Listen, I understand that you're only ten years old, but man the eff up. You were born into this world, you shouldn't be so soft, it's not like you were an old man who was set in his pacifist ways who doesn't like what the world turned into. You don't know any other world, and as much as your dad wants to keep your innocence, you can't be such a whiny baby."

This movie actually reminded me a bit of "The Walking Dead", obviously without zombies. You have the same sense of desolate landscapes and empty towns. TWD has also focused on the scavenging aspect of survival, and how at times you need to fear the living more than the dead.

As the credits rolled, I felt empty. Despite my anger towards the kid, my soul still ached just knowing what I watched them go through, and how their life had played out. Free Beer references this movie occasionally, and has said that there are scenes in the book that are even more bleak than were in the movie. I think the movie was pretty much all I could handle


On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "The Road" gets a 6 out of 10.