A week (or two? or so?) ago, I (unsuspectingly) went out for a few beers with an old friend of mine–we’ll call him Osh. (:D) After consuming a couple of pints (mmm, yes, a very pleasantly warm buzz) which left me vunerable, Osh (the Wily and Malevolent!) somehow tricked me into seeing a movie with him (I think it was the drunken stupor and free passes that did it). From here, an experience so terribly scarring occurred, one which I have yet to get out of my head.
We saw “The Road.”
I had heard good reviews of the book from writers of The Believer (which I do recommend, as they have rarely led me astray), but knew nothing of the story or movie, etc. In fact, it was quite the opposite of what I had expected, as in my drunkenness I confused Cormac McCarthy with Frank McCourt.
For the record, I haven’t read the book, I’m basing this blog purely on the movie, but I am open to the possibility that the novel is work of literary genius (though the movie was a traumatic enough experience to turn me off). While I’ve always considered the novel to be a more powerful medium of expression (because your imagine, inferences, and interpretation is much more compelling than someone else’s), this movie shoves the gray bleakness and total grief directly in your face.
It didn’t help that all I could see in my entire line of sight and most of my peripheral vision was the movie.
Don’t get me wrong now, I am not opposed to sad or tragic movies, nor do I think they should all have happy endings, and I’m perfectly fine with getting well outside of my comfort zone, in fact I think it is somewhat essential from time to time. But I would have liked there to be more of a story, or something of a lesson, or any sort of point or purpose aside from making me nauseated/squirm/want to cry.
If you are excited at the idea of this cinematic monster, then I must warn you: SPOILER ALERT!
To sum up the movie: In a post-apocalyptic world (though they don’t really go into any detail about this apocalypse, in case you were curious) a father (Viggo Mortensen) and son (some kid) walk across America, southbound, looking for the coast, where they hope life is a little better. Everything around them is pretty much dead/ashen/gray and it seems to be cold all the time. Any survivors are scavenging, and some have resorted to cannibalism (which adds some pretty grotesque scenes into the mix). Occasionally, the father has flashbacks to his life before the half-life he is now leading, which really just makes his current situation that much more heartbreaking and awful. And then he dies, and his son is taken in by another family, undoubtedly doomed to wander and scavenge until he starves/is eaten/contracts some virus/commits suicide.
Osh seemed to think the movie was well done, and I suppose I would second that, though I know little of how to critique that aspect of a film.
If you like to torture yourself, are looking to have a good cry, or enjoyed the book–I recommend seeing this movie. If you are looking to seek revenge on someone you hate, I would suggest gifting them a complimentary ticket or two to this movie.
And, if for some insane, self-loathing reason you find yourself planning to see “The Road,” please, do not drink beforehand.
But what do I know, eh?