I’m not the only spectator to find The Road (Hillcoat, Dimension/Weinstein, 2009) emotionally draining, but I wasn’t exhausted by the film’s content, or its relentless combination of blurred, gray cgi and “dizzying” wide lenses on “hand held” cameras. The Road’s stupidity exhausted me. I felt The Road’s crushing idiocy in it’s attempt use images to express the tone of Cormac McCarthy’s prose, which, at this late point, merely imitates itself like a dying Catskill comedian. I felt it in the hopeless obviousness of The Road’s apocalyptic mise-en-scène. I felt it in it’s limp attempt to present an allegory of fatherhood in hard times. I felt it especially acutely in The Road’s inability to decide whether it wanted to be a zombie movie without the interesting parts or a “serious” version of 2012 (Emmerich, Columbia, 2009).
John Hillcoat’s acquaintance with Nick Cave seems his only bona fide as director, and, as my friend Ofer Elaiz points out, the whole project seems to be a plot among acquaintances attempting to ensure that Cullen, John and whatever illegitimate McCarthy’s might be walking around never have to work. As my friend Jane has said, inheritable wealth ruins much of cinema.
Viggo Mortensen gives a mindlessly over blown performance, as if he had already become the melodramatic version of Nick Cage’s action hero. Kodi Smit-McPhee seemed as if had been directed to imitate Haley Joel Osment wishing he were in Germania anno zero (Rossellini, 1949).
In short given the regressive endtimes religiosity in both films, The Road plays like a moron’s attempt to remake Children Of Men (Cuarón, Universal, 2006) .