A father (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) walk alone through a post-apocalyptic America. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark, the trees are dead, as are all animals and bugs. Few humans exist, and many have turned to cannibalism. Their destination is the Florida coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing, just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food, and each other. Directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition) and based on the novel “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.
Rating: 7 out of 10
People are way off when think this movie is another excuse to make a dark film.
In the bleakest and most broad moments — a post-apocalyptic America where people are turning to cannibalism and animals and plants are all dead and few survive — this film captures a most intimate relationship between a father and son. We learn a little about their background with flashbacks where the mother, played nicely by Charlize Theron, gives us clues about what happened to this family.
But we’re never given the cause of the end of civilization — a preachy sermon about global warming or nuclear war. We’re never even given the names of the characters. Any other characters are small, with the exception of an excellent cameo by Robert Duvall as a wandering blind man. Instead, the story and camera focus on a father and son in their most desperate moments and are given very dark sequences. The father keeps a pistol with two bullets, one for each of them. And father shows son how to put the gun in his mouth and how to pull the trigger when the time comes. They stumble across humanity at its lowest, people eating other people, kidnapping and rape.
But in the darkest moments, humanity lives on. We see it in the boy, who represents purity, love and compassion. While the setting is dark, this movie brings us a story of love.