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Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" Looks Good On The Big Screen

Posted: Dec 23, 2009

Last year at Christmas I received a copy of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. I had no idea what the book was about, but I had really enjoyed some of his earlier works, especially All The Pretty Horses, so I was excited about diving in.

Over the next few weeks, as time would allow, I  would read this dark, post apocalyptic novel with great interest. McCarthy’s writing really drew me in and most nights I would fall asleep reading it.

I was really interested in seeing  how Hollywood would handle the movie adaptation, as most of the books that I really enjoyed  made for sub-standard films that could never begin to match the written word. Such was the case with most of Stephen King’s movie adaptations, except for Misery, which I felt turned out great.

The Road is a great movie. Dark. A wasteland that was once our world. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee star as a father and his son just trying to survive in a world with no food, no fuel, dead burned out bodies littering the landscape, cannibalistic rebels and danger at every turn.

The story of the father and his wife (Charlize Theron) prior to the bomb is told in flashback sequences - something not in the book but it seemed to work well.  After the baby is born, the mother decides she can no longer take the fear of watching and waiting as the world burns, and sets out into the woods alone to die.

The character of Eli, one of the men they encounter on the road is played by Robert Duvall, who all but steals the film during his ten or fifteen minutes on screen. The makeup job helped of course, but Duvall in my opinion is one of the best actors of our time, and he owned every moment on screen.

One of the many details I enjoyed with the film was the uncanny resemblance between the young actor Kodi and his on-screen mother Theron. It was as if the father saw his wife every time he looked into the boy’s big blue eyes. Great casting detail.

Was the movie better than the book? Of course not. Was the movie good? Actually, it was pretty great, in a dark, mournful kind of way.

This is one of those times when i am glad I was able to read the book and see the film as well. I enjoyed both, as well as McCarthy’s spooky tale of sheer survival. One of the best moview of the year.

- Michael Buffalo Smith


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gongsi028 says...

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cincymom says...

So glad that the transition to film meets with your approval! Can't wait to see it. I was mesmerized by the book in a rather love/hate fashion. At times, I really couldn't believe that I had picked this novel up and found it so disturbing, but as you say McCarthy's writing compels you to stay with the story. The primal bond between parent and child...McCarthy captures it exactingly.

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