Combustible Celluloid
Get the Poster
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
Own it:
Download at i-tunes Download on iTunes
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I
With: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker, Michael Kenneth Williams, Garret Dillahunt, Charlize Theron, Bob Jennings, Agnes Herrmann, Buddy Sosthand
Written by: Joe Penhall, based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy
Directed by: John Hillcoat
MPAA Rating: R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Running Time: 119
Date: 09/03/2009

The Road (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Still Street Blues

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) has brought the 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) to the screen faithfully, with only a few dramatic additions for the actors' benefit, as well as at least one action-oriented sequence. The emotional core of the movie is the same as the book: the moving relationship between the man and his son and the way they rely on each other for hope and survival.

In the future, an unnamed disaster has ravaged Earth, wiping out most animal and plant life. Electricity is gone, food is scarce, and everything has turned cold and gray from falling ash. A man (Viggo Mortensen) and his 10-year-old son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) make their way along the dangerous road toward the coast in the hopes of finding something -- anything -- there. Along the way, they meet some dangerous cannibals -- as well as some good people -- and together they must nurture their fragile flame of hope.

Overall, The Road is a well-made movie and a powerful story, but despite the characters' persistent hope, the relentlessly grim material -- including the constant, cold, gray visuals -- can be overwhelming, somewhat stalling the drama's forward momentum. Indeed, it's hard to argue that Hillcoat's intense visual presentation adds anything to or improves upon McCarthy's spare prose. Overall though, The Road is effective -- and interesting as a comparison for those who loved the book.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released a respectful Blu-Ray, with a shy commentary track by director Hillcoat, a making-of video, deleted and extended scenes, and trailers for this and other Sony releases.

Movies Unlimtied