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Monday, September 14, 2009

Reviews coming in for The Road at Toronto

Marshall Fine writes that The Road has "drawn mixed reviews coming out of the Venice Film Festival."

Viggo Mortensen & Kodi Smit-McPhee in 'The Road'

The chief knock on it? That it's downbeat and depressing.

How shocking — given that it's based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a father and son trying to survive a world-killing nuclear winter. I guess those critics were looking for a more cheerful post-apocalyptic tale.

In fact, Hillcoat's film is both faithful to and expands upon McCarthy’s novel. But as the book did, it always returns to the father, played with fierce tenderness by Viggo Mortensen, and his efforts to keep his boy alive and get him to some safe place — if such a place still exists. It's a performance that alternately smolders and flares, as Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee (as the boy) trudge through a gray, desolate landscape, trying to maintain their humanity and stay alive, while dodging others who have succumbed to the Darwinian imperative.

It's an important and a genuinely moving film, one that deserves a wide audience. Here's hoping that it finds one in the crowded award season of November, when it will be released.

I must confess that I am dreading the film as much as I look forward to it. I'm depressed enough already! McCarthy's The Road has been sitting on my shelf for over a year, waiting for me to build up the courage to read it. But with Viggo in the film, I'll be in the theater as soon as it reaches my hometown, and I have no doubt I'll be glad I saw it.

You can read the rest of Marshall Fine's Toronto reviews at his site, Hollywood & Fine.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

After seeing Viggo Mortenson at the Telluride Film Festival and seeing his performance in "The Road" I have a renewed respect and admiration for this brutally handsome actor and quietly sensitve,intelligent man. His drive to take on roles that make him feel "uncomfortable" have defined his career and brought him to the front of the few actors that can play any role convincingly. "The Road" may not be uplifting but one we may travel one day.

September 15, 2009 4:22 PM  
Blogger Ms Unseen/MsF/Redlotusblossom said...

The Road is wonderful. VM has to be nominated for an Oscar for this performance. And it is not depressing. In fact, I think the heart of the film, and the book, comes through: It's all in the question the boy asks at the end, "Are you carrying the fire?" I left the theater feeling the flame of the fire in my chest, the heat and light of humanity, with the certainty that we do not have to let outself drift into animal horror but can continue not matter what as compassionate beings. That's what McCarthy's book is doing, and the film does it beautifully, too.

December 8, 2009 8:34 PM  

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