The Road

This is another film I watched recently. Obviously being The Road I didn’t enjoy it as much as I liked Avatar, because, let’s be honest, it’s about a man and his son slowly dying all alone in a post-apocalyptic, dead-Earth hell, where seemingly everyone is out to steal their stuff and also probably eat them.

It’s not wholly faithful to the book and there is, surprisingly (but also not that surprisingly) too much schmaltz – all this flashbacking to scenes before the wife/mother to man and boy dies, played by Charlize Theron and utterly, hopelessly, pathetically adored by Viggo Mortensen. One wonders what she ever saw in him. The cat is currently standing on my shoulder so I’m sorry if he takes it upon himself to contribute to this entry. A couple of we-are-going-to-make-you-cry scenes with a piano. And an ending that was ambiguous but in almost entirely the wrong way – not, Can I Trust You, but Can You Even Be Real? Now I can’t see the screen. Thanks, cat.

However, for a film adaptation of a book it was better than I expected by a long way and definitely worth seeing. Beautifully shot, and it threw up a lot of questions about morality, death, suicide, grief, love, and so on. Good acting, and maybe they missed a trick on some of the screenplay but the film is probably worth watching for one scene alone where they meet on their travels an old blind man and see the slowly changing morality of the boy and his father, separately, and also, just who is really in charge.

I have to say, though, if everything was dead, if all that was left was me and a few thousand other human beings, with nothing to eat but each other, the odd dead insect, and a dwindling supply of stores to loot for tins and the like, if I had the guts I would seriously consider suicide; I would certainly not make much effort to stay alive, just because, well, what for? The film managed to present suicide as actually the most sane and rational choice; Viggo Mortensen’s optimism was blind, naive, visionary, and utterly mad.

Anyway, if you’ve read the book, I would definitely at least consider watching the film. If you haven’t read the book, you should read it; and I don’t know whether or not it would be your type of thing. The cat is nudging my face now and definitely wants some attention, or more food, or something, so I’d better be off.

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10 Comments

Filed under Art, Endings, Family, Film, Food, Happenings, Life, Religion, Society, Thoughts, World

10 responses to “The Road

  1. C R M

    no comments on the film, BUT I’m guessing the cat is BJ? It sounds like his slow war-of-attrition style food attempts.

    And now I must start my essay.

    xxx

  2. I saw this yesterday.

    Film is a wonderful medium for telling stories, which makes it tragic when a movie like The Road is released, because as far as I could ascertain there is no story. The characters are just annoying, so I felt no sympathy whatsoever. Especially the scene you mentioned with the blind man – when did the father turn into an unmitigated dick? The vague “moral questions” felt almost cliche and overdone.

    There are lots of infinitely more interesting questions relating to the story that the film just fails to address, so I came out the end of it wondering what on earth the point was. It felt unfinished.

    I’ve not read the book, and perhaps you need to have read the book to “get” the film. In which case it’s an utter failure of a film if it doesn’t stand up without the book! Pretentious drivel, imho.

  3. Jenny

    Dickie, I love your opinions :P. A perfectly valid take on the film, of course, but don’t let it put you off reading the book, because the film struggled to tread the line between emotive Hollywood zombie-movies-for-the-wannabe-intelligentsia and what the book was actually doing which was far darker and more elegant and intriguing. As to whether you need to have read the book to ‘get’ the film, I couldn’t say, tbh. xxx

  4. I do intend to read the book at some point actually, but I can’t say I hold out much hope for it being any good :-p

    On the subject of films based on books about a dystopian future, I’m reading I Am Legend by Richard Matheson at the moment and it’s pretty good. Although its Science Fiction with vampires, so it’d have to go pretty far wrong to be a bad book…

  5. Jenny

    haha I’ve only recently started getting into SF – currently Iain M Banks Matter which is part of the Culture series. It’s amazing. Although like with any other genre, I don’t like specific genres, what I like in books is their being good and literarily worthy examples of books in that genre. It just took me a while to acknowledge that there are respectable authors writing in more or less any genre under the sun, and that there are plenty of people writing all kinds of utter shit. I did like The Road, but it’s years since I read it and I don’t nkow what I’d think now; it’s also easy to absorb opinions from other poeple – so since my parents approved of it, that will have coloured my judgement.

  6. Ooh well if you’ve just started getting into SF, I heartily recommend anything by Asimov or Clarke. Both were pretty much geniuses, so anything you pick up will be good. I particularly recommend 2001 (and the follow ups) by Clarke, and the wonderful Foundation series by Asimov.

    Also, get a copy of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. It’s the book that Blade Runner is based on, and it’s absolutely brilliant (and yet another novel set in a post-apocalyptic future). I pretty much couldn’t put it down when I read it a few months ago. If you want a book which poses interesting moral questions, then this is it.

    As you can possibly tell, I adore Science Fiction. I love that the stories are based on ideas. SF is also generally amazingly imaginitive, but within the realms of reality – it’s amazing how many ideas from old SF have actually come true…

  7. Jenny

    Thank you 🙂 I’m having a bit of an SF phase at the moment. I used to be far more into novels which explored relationships and family in a fairly in-depth way but I guess everything gets old once in a while…! And interesting and imaginative new worlds and dystopias and futures really appeals… 🙂 Thanks – Asimov definitely was on my list of things to check out; Clarke I’d not heard of…!! xxx

  8. C R M

    You probably had heard of him without realising.

    Also, interesting fact: you know those Japanese Robots, “Asimo” (I think they’re called…) well, they took that name from Isaac Asimov. Which (from what I vaguely remember of his writing) is kind of… a bit odd… I didn’t think he was the world’s biggest fan of the idea of robotics…

    xxx

  9. C R M

    Oh, and another fact: the word ‘robot’ comes from the Russian verb (spelled out in English as best I can…) “Rabotyat”, which means “to work”.

    xxx

  10. Jenny

    Well, he was the one who invented the three laws of robotics, after all. I don’t nkow how much of a fan he was of robots – perhaps he felt that yes, there were useful things they could do (hence the Russian ‘rabotyat’ I guess), but only as long as they didn’t really have much by way of decision-making capacity of their own, so Asimo would probably be OK by him but anything with a more advanced AI would be a problem? I think robots are currently far more trouble than they’re worth, personally. And I find the really person-like japanese ones really, really scary. xxx

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