Author Topic: THE ROAD (2009)  (Read 145 times)

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Offline agate

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THE ROAD (2009)
« on: January 07, 2014, 04:18:03 pm »
For details about The Road, see this IMDb link.

Sometimes there’s an advantage to be gained from watching a movie in installments. You can figure out possible endings for it and then see which one is the actual ending.

I watched the first 19 of The Road’s 28 “chapters” one day and wondered how it could end. The answer was so obvious I didn’t have to mull it over. Given the world that has been set up in the movie, a post-disaster future where the whole world is devastated (perhaps this is nuclear winter?), there is only one possible ending, and it has almost been laid out for us by some of the dialogue.

The movie is based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy, which I haven’t read, and I rarely watch movies set in the future. So I may be totally off base in assuming that there may have been a nuclear blast so severe that life as we know it is ending.  There are still the boy and the man who are at the center of the story–and various people they meet along the way.

They’re traveling south, always south–presumably to escape from the cold.  They have little left, and everyone is facing starvation. There is probably no fuel. Desperate people are becoming “bad guys.” The father teaches his son (who seems to be about 9 and has no memory of a better time) that there are good guys and bad guys. That is one of his main lessons. The others are to keep going south and to hang onto the gun, no matter what.

Another teaching of his–about “having the fire”–makes less sense, but we don’t want to believe that this very luckless child has been saddled with a father who’s a little bit off--though by the end of the movie that idea just might cross some viewers’ minds.

A lot depends on how you interpret the situation they are in. We’re told nothing about why the earth has become so desolate but everyone in the story seems to assume that there is no place left on earth that hasn’t been devastated.  As would happen if there had been a nuclear blast?

Time has passed since the cataclysmic event, whatever it was–maybe six years, give or take a couple of years.  Enough time for the remaining people to be worn down and hopeless.  We are being given a world where hope has had to die.

Things get so bad for the boy at one point that he hallucinates.

That may be what he is doing at the end. I don’t know how else to explain the ending, but then I had already decided that there was one and only one way that this story could end.

Simply put, the ending is too good to be true if you take it as meant to be real.  One reviewer, J. Hoberman in The Village Voice, speaks of “the close-up of the Post-Apocalyptic Puppy of Hope that appears in the movie’s final scene,” and that about sums it up.

If that final scene is the boy’s hallucination, however, the ending is appropriate to the rest of the movie, and the viewer can be relieved to have been spared further details about the boy.

This movie is very, very hard to watch. Its scenes are dark and often excruciating.

Glancing at a few reviews, however, I don’t find anyone responding to this movie as I did. No one is assuming that this movie is about the after-effects of a nuclear blast.

Still, the atmosphere it creates–of a dying world–is horrifying.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 04:21:57 pm by agate »
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