Thursday, November 26, 2009

"The Road" Directed by John Hillcoat

The anti-buzz on this film has already begun, but the Prof avers that it is a Good Film based on a Good Book. The "it's a literary zombie" meme has surfaced in half a dozen reviews I've read and the "Cormac McCarthy's prose is untranslatable to the screen" meme is right behind it. The book was a page-turner where you were so afraid of what might come next that you wrestled with the turn-urge, and the movie had me hunkered down tight in my seat. McCarthy stripped down his vocabulary and untangled his thorny syntax for this one and Hillcoat's staging is direct and simple in its translation to screen. The cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe (Vicky Christina Barcelona and (gasp!) Twilight: New Moon) washes a muted color scheme across the characters' quest--eerily beautiful and dread-filled. Kodi Smit-McPhee is surprisingly good as the boy, even in the crucial moments where he confronts his father with what may be an outmoded morality. Viggo Mortensen inhabits the character of a decent man without being self-conscious heroic, a kind of a post-apocalyptic Henry Fonda. The star cameos by Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, and Guy Pearce are unobtrusive and apt (and Garret Dillahunt is excellent, as usual). The audience I saw it with hated it--what a downer, they thought.
The Prof recommends it.

Update: Mr. Pink informs the Prof that he has been reading the buzz differently, and because the Prof is notoriously inept at predicting anybody's taste, let alone the American public's, he defers and wishes the flick well.

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