Tuesday, 2 February 2010

'The clocks stopped at one seventeen one morning.'

The Road

Directed by John Hillcoat

Depressing stuff. It felt like John Hillcoat's other work The Proposition - same pace but lets replace the outback with Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalypitc world. I haven't read the book, so I can't pass comment on the film adaptation as such. The story: a father and his son walk a little, they eat a little, they cry a lot and run away from the few remaining humans left, who all appear to be cannibals. The performance from Viggo Mortesen is most impressive, both phsycially and emotionally he looks worn, it came across that he really had been trudging the land in fear and search of food for some time. I found his son, played by Kodi Smit-McPee , annoying and whiney (just like the sound of his name) – but I suppose that's what you 'act like' if you had no other contact with humans apart from your daddy and all you knew was the virtues of a child.

What's most impressive about the film is the lack of CGI used, Hillcoat on countless occasions has trumpeted this fact. Not only does this decision lend a realness to the film that could not be achieved with a CGI image – but these images document a side of America not many people know about: 'The abandoned Pennsylvania Highway' has been listed in many reviews but throughout the film, scenes using real landscapes show that America isn't all skyscrappers, McDonalds and gas guzzling trucks.

Hillcoat says there's no such thing as a 'depressing film' - I've been stalking all his interviews... I'm of the school of thought that a depressing film is a bad film. So yes, this story, this world may be depressing but it filled me with hope and fear; the incongruity of our little lives. Indeed I suppose the film's conclusion asks the question how insignificant are we? As the credits rolled I was left with the thought what would I do with myself if the world became apocalyptic. And well.. I felt grateful and relieved to catch the tube home. So well done Hillcoat for making me happpy for using London's public transport.

Conclusion: Not a depressing film but has depressing elements in it.

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