There have been many films about the state of the earth and its inhabitants after an apocalypse, most of them depicting the life of a lone survivor trying to survive the harsh and anarchistic world in order to create an actin vehicle. The Mad Max movies are well known for this, but also Water World, Doomsday, The Book Of Eli and even the Matrix movies are perfect examples.
The road takes a different route and is a more down toned character study of what an apocalypse does with people. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are father and son. Together they travel the wasteland of what once was America. The are rumors of cannibals and as such they do their best to avoid running into other people. They have a goal set up of reaching the coast, a goal that is the only thing that keeps them going. The father has a gun with only two bullets; it serves as a way out of life when living is no other option.
Bleak and more interested on how to survive and how man will react to a sudden setback of a couple of centuries than throwing in action sequences and having people dressing up as if the only survivors were inhabitants of a gay bar. Father and son are faced with difficult choices whether to help other as that could get them killed. They must avoid groups of people as they can pose a threat and try to obtain food as much as possible. One solution for food as being shown in the movie was the use of captured humans as a livestock.
The only thing I wondered was how come only humans seemingly survived the apocalypse. Though not dates and times are given it could very well be that all the cattle has been eaten already, which is not the smartest thing to do after an apocalypse.
The Road is gritty and carried by Mortensen and Smit-McPhee. They put down solid performances and Mortensen shows once more he isn’t afraid to strip down for a role. He also isn’t afraid to eat nothing for months just to have the body of someone who has been surviving on scraps for years.
It’s a bleak movie and the ending will be unsatisfying to people expecting a closed story though it is a clear statement on how a certain story ends and a new one begins. It’s a strong movie and whereas other movies try to entertain us with a doomed image of the future, this one tries to tell us how it really could be. Let’s hope it is not a future that awaits us.