The Road movie review: Society has broken down, plants and animals are a distant memory, and humans must find food and shelter if they have any chance of survival. (That many have turned to cannibalism makes the situation even more desperate.) As a man (Viggo Mortensen) dreams about his final days with his wife (Charlize Theron), he looks after his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and assures him that they are the good guys—and they just have to stay away from the bad guys.
The buzz: Many thought Cormac McCarthy's novel to be unfilmable, and the fact that the movie was pushed back from year-end Oscar candidacy in 2008 doesn't bode well. Still, Mortensen is the man (figuratively and literally; his character here is only known as The Man), and it might be nice to get a taste of widespread disaster that's a little less ridiculous than 2012.
The verdict: The apocalypse probably won't have a soundtrack, yet there's a pesky score during every heavy-handed emotional moment in The Road. Director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) captures the gray-brown desolation of a world dying along with its citizens, and Mortensen provides a solid foundation when the movie slides into melodrama. (Why is Theron's departure played like a soap opera?) It's too bad the film shies away from brutality and becomes so monotonous, offering not enough emotion or commentary about survival instincts at war with humanity—and the way human behavior at the end of the world isn't so far from the way we are everyday.
Official movie site: The Road
See also The Road movie trailer: