Saturday, January 22, 2011
The Road (the film)
Last year I read Cormac McCarthy's book "The Road" based on a suggestion from a friend.
Yea for me! I read a book.
Needless to say, I loved the book as I find myself drawn toward all things melancholy and depressing, and I definitely appreciated it for its ability to evoke strong emotions in me while reading it.
Anyway, the film: I watched it last week for the first time, and it stuck with me. I found it to be a very faithful adaptation of the novel.
What I loved the most about The Road was that amidst the seemingly hopeless, desolate backdrop of a post-apocalyptic U.S. ruled by chaos and a loss of humanity, the director allowed the actors tell a story of love, discovery, hope (yes, there is hope in the film) and humanity. What dialogue is present is often poignant and metaphorical, and where there wasn't dialogue, focus was placed on the actors using long close-ups or mid-shots to allow them to portray an emotion or mood, often without words. Striking imagery is used to startle the viewer into the reality of the situation, but then, small, soft moments lessen that harshness. The everyday joys in life that we often take for granted are relished not only by the characters in the film, but by the viewer, and should be recognized.
When I hear people talk about the film, they comment as if they were let down by it; that it deceived their trust in its portrayal of a world and a family without hope; that it was too depressing. Yes, it is depressing and bleak, but it also celebrates what makes us bond as humans, and shows that with complete loss comes appreciation for life's simple pleasures, however rare they might be.
There was, as my friend Chris pointed out, a moment where the main character makes a decision that was hard to buy into, and it was an important decision. And, honestly, I don't remember why he made the same choice in the book, and if the reasoning there was stronger than in the film. (I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm being really vague about what the decision was). Honestly, that's my one issue with the film other than some slightly egregious product placement near the same part of the film.
I missed the film in theatres and took my sweet time renting it, so this post comes out of left field a bit. I recommend watching it with an open mind. And if you saw the film, what did you think?