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Movie Review: The Road

Alternate Title: No Country for Anyone

Story: The Road's less traveled because there aren't any people left to travel. Due to an unspecified worldwide cataclysm, we meet a man and his son as they travel south in a post-apocolyptical world. This powerful adaptation of the novel by Cormac McCarthy was directed by John Hillcoat and written by Joe Penhall.

The world is devoid of sun, has lost it's wildlife, it's forests are denuded and life seems to have been drained. The planet is dying. It is a frightening place where everyone you do meet is most likely a predator, murderer, rapist or cannibal. In this horrific backdrop we find a man devoted to his young son and is trying desperately to keep the flame of hope alive by teaching his son the techniques to survive.

Every day is a struggle to find food and shelter. There are unseen dangers everywhere. This strong film deals with enormous subjects such as loss, isolation, fear, death and the very fine line between good and evil. Earth's color has been desaturated. The only time we see color is in a few flashbacks before the catastrophe.

Not your typical holiday fare you say? I am not sure who the audience will be for this film, but if you have the stomach to sit for two hours you will see images that will stick with you for days, terrific acting, fantastic cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe and pitch perfect production values by Chris Kennedy.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4aNZGniOG4

Acting: Viggo Mortensen as the Man should be expecting some nominations for Best Actor in his future. His performance has economy and smolders. Kodi Smit-McPhee as the Boy is terrific and believeable. In cameo roles we meet Robert Duvall as the Old Man, Guy Pearce as the Veteran, Molly Parker as the Motherly Woman, Michael Kenneth Williams as the Thief, Garret Dillahunt as a very scary Gang Member and Charlize Theron as the Boy' Mother.

Trivia: Director John Hillcoat directed music videos for Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Einstürzende Neubauten, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Manic Street Preachers, Bush, Placebo, Suede, Atari Teenage Riot, Depeche Mode, HIM, Alec Empire, Muse, AFI and more. At a young age, his paintings were featured in the Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario, Canada). Cormac McCarthy's novel "All the Pretty Horses" won a National Book Award in 1992 and his ovel "The Road" won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007. Viggo Mortenson speaks fluent English, Spanish, Danish, and French, but he also speaks Swedish and Norwegian reasonably well. Born in NYC he lived in South America from age 2 to age 11. He has been photographing for years, recently debuted with an exhibition at the Robert Mann Gallery in NYC. -- American Photo, July/August 2000. He writes poetry in his spare time. and is also a jazz musician - he has released three CDs so far.

Predilection: None

Critters: A horse, beetle and a dog.

Food: Food is scarce. Spam, beans, slop, gruel, crackers and canned fruit cocktail.

Sex Spectrum: No sex. There are a few scenes showing Viggo Mortenson in the nude (from the rear).

Blatant Product Placement: It is somewhat funny to see which product survived the nightmare. Guess what? You can still drink Coca Cola if you can find it, drink a bottle of Vitamin Water, eat Cheetos, Spam and canned Dole Fruit Cocktail.

Soundtrack: At times a bit too sentimental but mostly appropriate by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis;

Opening Titles: An opening scene before the cataclysm and then the film's titles. All other credits are at the end.

Visual Art: Shot in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Mt St, Helens the visuals are a major player in this film.

Theater Audience: Pretty crowded for the first show on opening day. Mostly filled with 20 or 30-somethings, a few Goths and me.

Weather: If accu-weather still existed the forecast would be the same each day - rain, clouds, lightning, fire and earthquakes.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 3 - Some of the images are quite disturbing.

Drift Factor: I did not drift at all.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: I welled up a bit towards the end.

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Absolutely, the big screen

Length: Two hours.