‘The Road’
John Hillcoat
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Rating: R
Grade: ?????

Anyone who’s read Cormac McCarthy’s novel “The Road” will tell you that it’s a bit of a downer, but will fervently recommend it anyway. The same goes for its faithful film interpretation, which effectively creates the desolate yellowed landscape and the mind-boggling prospect of a world without supermarkets and electricity.

The gravity of the situation of a man and his child struggling to get to the ocean — where they hope to find a better life — seems insurmountable, but, like another Oscar contender this season, “Precious,” the tragedy gives way to an overwhelming sense of hope, which turns this into the strangest brand of an almost-feel-good film.


This is pulled off, ultimately, by sober acting by talented people. Only an actor as accomplished as Viggo Mortensen can lecture his son (played by 13-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee, who is amazingly mature for his age) about “the good guys” and romantically daydream about life before the apocalypse without turning it into a Hallmark made-for-TV movie.

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