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246 of 255 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard film to like-slight spoilers
Someone asked me if I liked The Road, upon watching it. I had no answer. The Road is just one of those films that is too hard to describe. Is the movie good? Well, yes it is-that is a far easier question to answer. I have read the book and must say that the film really does it justice. It is bleak, dreary, utterly depressing and flawlessly acted.

Viggo...
Published on March 23, 2010 by Valerya Couto

versus
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fathers and Sons
This is not primarily an apocalyptic movie. The cataclysm that overtakes the earth is never shown, never talked about, and never defined. It's killed practically everything, including plants, although counterintuitively some humans survived. The disaster itself is unimportant; the point is that it strips all the non-essentials from the relationship between humans, and...
Published on June 18, 2010 by Ross E. Nelson


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246 of 255 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard film to like-slight spoilers, March 23, 2010
This review is from: The Road (DVD)
Someone asked me if I liked The Road, upon watching it. I had no answer. The Road is just one of those films that is too hard to describe. Is the movie good? Well, yes it is-that is a far easier question to answer. I have read the book and must say that the film really does it justice. It is bleak, dreary, utterly depressing and flawlessly acted.

Viggo Mortensen is a man with no name, who, alone with his son (also no name) is attempting to survive what seems to be some sort of apocalypse. We never see what transpired-we only see the aftermath. We are not given a timeline, though you can judge for yourself how long man and son have been attempting to 'live'. Mortensen carries the entire film on his weathered and weary shoulders. I cannot gush enough about his performance-in any film really. But here, you only have to look into his eyes-so full of soul and despair to realise that not only is this man acting, he is really and truly transformed. Just incredible really.

The atmosphere is grainy and desolate, without color of any kind and as you watch, you slowly go mad envisioning what you would do in such a situation. The film features horrors that include cannibalism and at one point, you see the father teach his son how to properly kill himself if anything should ever happen to him. Very disturbing.

By film's end, you are mentally exhausted. This is not a fast-paced film at all. It is purposefully slow-going and I believe that was done with the intent to transport you inside the film itself, and in my mind, it succeeds. After the credits started to roll, I found myself depressed for the rest of the day. This is probably one of the most desolate films I've ever seen, so I would avoid it if you like your films with satisfying ending-because this isn't it.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, depressing and exactly what it is supposed to be, July 15, 2010
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This review is from: The Road [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Agree with and can't really add to what other reviewers have said here. This is serious stuff. It does follow the book very closely and most scenes are exactly as I had envisioned them. It is a very dark, lonely, depressing story, BUT -- with a strong underlying element of hope and love. Specifically, that which makes us human, why we press onward when all seems lost. For what? In this case, a fathers love for his son. The mood expressed is not an especially popular one for a major motion picture and as such, is one of the reasons I bought it on Blu-ray, not because it is something I want to watch repeatedly, but because I have a LOT of respect for and want to support filmmakers that are willing to go against the trend of only producing light, pop-culture, feel-good, easily digestible "product".
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The depths of despair., September 19, 2010
This review is from: The Road (DVD)
I wasn't sure if I should give this movie one star or five...
I settled on four.
.......(shaking head)
I've never read the book so all I knew about the movie was a guy and his kid survive the end of the world and that was about it.
They never say what it was that ended the planet. I'm guessing it was some kind of bomb but all that's left is man.
No animals.
No crops.
No trees.
Nothing.

Within the first ten minutes of the movie I was in tears and I knew I'd be in for a rocky ride.
I WAS NOT prepared for what this movie threw at me.

Ok, the good.
Why would I give the movie five stars?
Excellent acting, incredible score.
The movie sucks you right in and doesn't let go.
The direction is brilliant.
The pacing is slow but deliberate and very effective.
The movie is a masterpiece except for....

The bad?
Why would I give one star?
Umm....I don't know how many of you have played the Resident Evil video games but when you stumble upon a big scary mansion looming in the mist, RUN THE OTHER WAY.
Chances are said mansion will have scary, icky things in it.
And the mansion part of this movie will haunt me for years to come.
YUCK!
Not that this part of the movie is gory, it kind of is.
It's the mental impact of what is happening in the mansion and really all over the Earth.
This movie is the darkest, most depressing, desolate thing I have ever seen and I never want to see this movie again.

I settled on four stars.
The movie is a masterpiece and one of the scariest movies I've ever seen.
It's not even technically a horror movie but that's what kind of impact it had on me.
I guess what really scares me the most is the fact that this entire scenario is possible.
Funny....that great thing we call the mind of man is what has elevated us from the club wielding/rock throwing days to where we are now as a species.
It will be the same mind of man that reduces us right back to where we originated, maybe even worse if this movie is any indication.

I pray the bombs never fly during my lifetime but if they do.
I know where fallout shelters are...
I won't be going.
I'll go right outside and welcome the end with outstretched arms.
Even if you did survive, what kind of life would be left for you or your loved ones?
Is that really something you'd wish on them or yourself?

If the end really was as bad as this...
My prayers for the survivors.
Imagine a planet filled with Ted Bundy's and Jeffrey Dahmers running around in gangs.
For those who say "This could never happen".
It already has.
Go read about Holodomor in Ukraine. People can and will revert back to their most absolute brutish ways in very little time under the worst circumstances.
...Maybe this wasn't the best movie for me to watch.
I cry during car commercials if the music is sappy enough.
This movie will stay with me for years to come.
Excellent job by Mortensen, Theron and the boy.

Do I recommend this movie?
If and that's a HUGE IF you can stomach the subject matter of a post apocolyptic world filled with murdering cannibals, then yes.
Otherwise I'd say for sensitive viewers, don't watch it.
It's a masterpiece of utter brutality, desperation and hopelessness.
There is no happy ending here.
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94 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Excellent Film, January 2, 2010
I won't repeat the theme as other reviewers have done this. Though this film does take place in a very bleak and hopeless time as others have mentioned, it still projects hope and displays intense, dedicated love. This is much of what makes the movie as good as it is. In a time when there should be no hope, the father and son hold on to each other. They search for something that they have no right to hope in, a place where they can be safe and fed. It may not even exist, yet they take to the road despite the fact that many others have given up. They choose to hope.

The relationship between the father and son was so well acted that it was very believable. Viggo Mortenson played this father determined to protect his son with such a fierce passion and vulnerability that it was mesmerizing. The actor playing the son was just as fantastic. Vulnerable and innocent, with such trust of the father, reacting to the evil in the world, but still wanting to do good. It was moving.

This was a movie that makes you think. It showed that in desperate circumstances, some will give up and choose death, some will choose evil to survive, others will choose to do no harm while surviving, and still others will risk everything to do good despite what they're up against. It was very true to life.

This film was powerful, fascinating and well done, and I recommend it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fears of all loving parents, post-apocalypse or not, March 19, 2012
This review is from: The Road (Amazon Instant Video)
As of this writing, we are not living the horrors of a post-apocalyptic event, as portrayed in this film. However, all of us who are parents still face the same issues, so painfully faced by this father. What will become of our children if we are no longer able to watch out for them? Who will really have their best interests at heart, watch out for them, and protect them, if we are unable? The world, as it exists today, is often a cruel, terrible place with thieves, con-men, murderers and vile beasts passing themselves off as human. Thankfully, there ARE some good people, even strangers, who will do what is right in the face of the most terrible adversity. There are also those who will descend into the most heinous existence, doing what they must to survive regardless of the horrors they might inflict on others, even children.

This film is absolutely outstanding, and does a great job at capturing some of the themes central to Mr. McCarthy's novel. The acting is amazing.

Both the novel and the movie end on a promising note, but we have to wonder if that was simply Mr. McCarthy showing a little mercy for his readers by throwing them a thin glimmer of hope. The novel and the movie could have just as easily ended as we all feared they might. The innocent, sweet child could have fallen into the wrong hands, and died the most terrible death.

In our non-post apocalyptic world, people (even children) die every day as victims of another person's inhumanity. Watch this film, not to enjoy but to reflect. The Man says, "I'm trying to prepare him for when I am gone." I guess that is what all of us who love our children are trying to do.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS -- OR HATE IT, May 23, 2011
This review is from: The Road (DVD)
If you're looking for a standard action-packed hollywood movie, or a thriller, or shallow fun, you might hate this. This is a super heavy, dark, grim, intelligent, dreadful post-apocolypse film. You REALLY need to know that, and be in the mood for it.

If you loved "Blade Runner," or are in the mood for something slow and deep and grim and meaningful and dark as hell, or just love well-made apocalypse movies, this is it.

Not a kid's movie whatsoever. A very realistic, adult, educated, and hideous view of what it would be like after a real all-out global war & the aftermath.

It is NOT about PLOT. It's about REALITY. It demonstrates what our lives would be like in this scenario: painfully plotless. If you're student of film or literature or any kind of intelligent culture, you'll probably get this; if you're not, you probably won't.

The acting, production, direction, writing, ambiance, and everything else is excellent.

The message of the film is as deep and powerful as the movie is grim and dark. Which is what it's about. Not just shallow entertainment or meaningless fluff, but the exact oppositte of those. It takes you into a world of overwhelming desolation, and then explores what really matters in such a world... and the world you might be in already.

That said, I consider this one of the best Apocalypse movies around, and deeply meaningful.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying Film - Better For Fans of the Book, November 30, 2009
The Road (Movie Tie-in Edition 2009) (Vintage International) is one of my favorite books, so I was nervous about the adaptation to the screen. Fortunately, the film respected it's source material and contains one powerful visual after the next. The film is perfectly cast, very well acted, and adequately written. When you have such a descriptive book as "The Road", it's hard to capture everything - and the film does a good job but doesn't completely succeed. Without spoiling the ending, I will just say I think the emotional sting the book leaves is better than the film. This is also such a dark film I think those not familiar with the source material might find it too dark and depressing. It's certainly not for everyone, but for fans of the book, it's a nice companion.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and depressing, but a powerful movie, May 30, 2010
This review is from: The Road (DVD)
A man and his son roam about in a post-apocalyptic world, scrounging for food, shelter, safety, and any comfort they can find in a world where all the animals have died off and no crops will grow. No explanation for the apocalyptic events is given, nor is one needed. In fact, it's beside the point. This isn't a story about a disaster -- it is the story about human behavior after a disaster. And here's another scoop for ya -- it ain't that much different from what we see today. An apocalypse will just shear away all comfort and civility and bring out our absolute best and worst qualities to immediate and unforgiving view.

The man tries to teach his son to be cautious, safe, and resilient, and the son tries to teach his dad to be more humane toward his fellow survivors. Those two methods don't always co-exist well. The Man presumably knows enough about human nature to know that in desperate times humans can be ruthless, evil, and dangerous. The boy definitely needs to learn that lesson but he is still young, inexperienced, and idealistic enough to want to reach out and help his fellow survivors. Both of them are right, and therein lies the conflict.

The idea of a catastrophe of this magnitude happening in real life in the near future is not all that far-fetched, really. When it happens, we will quickly devolve into a dog-eat-dog world and the fight for survival will be fierce and brutal. Don't be shocked -- that's an everyday way of life in much of the animal kingdom anyway. Nature can be cruel. So when that happens, how will you respond? Will you turn cannibal to survive? How far would you go to protect your loved ones? Would you even have the courage and strength, both physical and emotional, to endure?

There is a lot to be gleaned from a story like this. It ain't happy family fare, that's for sure. But it poses some interesting dilemmas and questions about human behavior and what it means to have humanity. Your mileage may vary.

To those out there who like to watch movies that are little more than unchallenging and explosive eye candy or rollercoaster action, by all means please skip this one. Frankly, I wouldn't want to waste my time reading your negative reviews that showcase your narrow-minded view or your inability to accept cinema as a thoughtful storytelling device. But there is an audience for this film. Hopefully many of you are that audience.

I'll warn you again, though: this story can get pretty bleak.

The major cast is pretty remarkable. Viggo Mortensen has shown his talent countless times before, but this performance elevates him to an elite class. Robert Duvall is unrecognizable and lends weight to his small amount of screen time like no other actor could. Michael K. Williams ("Omar" from HBO's "The Wire") does the same. And young Australian actor named Kodi Smit-McPhee plays The Boy. It's always a challenge when incorporating young children in key roles -- you don't want the kid to be too "cute and adorable", but he must be sufficiently so if you want to gain the audience's empathy for him. It's a fine line. Smit-McPhee walks that line without ever crossing it.

Highly recommended movie. Regular DVD has Director Commentary, a few short deleted scenes, a brief making-of feature with cast and director interviews, and two theatrical trailers that give the impression this film is slightly more of an action flick than it really is.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father And Son..., October 15, 2010
This review is from: The Road (DVD)
Civilization has ended. America (and presumably everywhere else on Earth) is a desolate wasteland. A father (Viggo Mortensen from LOTR, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, EASTERN PROMISES) and his young son are heading south toward an unknown future. THE ROAD is not your typical post-apocalyptic adventure. Yes, humanity has been destroyed, food is scarce, and bands of road pirates and cannibals roam free. However, this is more a story of a father's love for his son than a bloody end-of-the-world epic. I found more genuine emotion in this film than in most modern releases. Though tragic, THE ROAD still manages to uplift the soul, even in the face of certain doom. Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron are also quite good in their smaller roles. Well worth repeat viewings...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is Blood Thicker Than Water?, December 23, 2010
This review is from: The Road (DVD)
There's something about the name Eli that lends itself to post-apocalyptic films. Like The Book of Eli, The Road features a visually impaired character named Eli who foresaw the apocalypse, the younger generation brings him hope in a way he never thought possible, and Eli grapples with the question of God's plan. But what is God's plan? That's a question that has bedeviled humanity and it is asked by an old man named Eli. It is asked in every sweep of the blasted landscape, every exchange between father (Viggo Mortensen) and son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and in every fire lit, "fire carried," and shot fired.

It's easy to dismiss The Road as too grim, as hard to watch, as a real downer, but The Road demonstrates the value of hope with single-minded determination. The father represents the xenophobic, inward-looking, white collar fear of the world caving in. The worst has happened, and the man flails as he tries to keep the boy alive. The boy, on the other hand, is filled with hope and longing - he wants to make friends, he wants to play with other kids, and he wants to be with his deceased mother (Charlize Theron). In other words, he wants to be a typical boy.

The acting is superb. Mortensen is all too-believable as a crazed father on the brink. Smit-McPhee is pitch-perfect as a child who alternately explores the broken world and fears it because his father fears it. Throughout, the father tries to toughen up his son, preparing him for a hard-luck existence when he's gone. Every parent with a child can relate.

Central to The Road is a battle of ethos. Who should you be: The naďve dupe who trusts anyone that says they're trustworthy? Or the untrusting sociopath who shoots first and asks questions later? We begin life as the former and slowly become the latter...because our families, our friends, and the world teach us the folly of trust. But it's those same people who teach us that trust is a very part of our survival. When times are tough, friends are a precious commodity.

At its conclusion The Road asks: Is blood thicker than water? Your answer will determine your perspective at the end of The Road.
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The Road [Blu-ray]
The Road [Blu-ray] by Viggo Mortensen (Blu-ray - 2010)
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