The Road is a bleak post-apocalyptic film about a Father (Viggo Mortensen) and Son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) traveling the world almost a decade after the death of all life on earth. The trees, crops and animals are all dead, and with most remaining humans turned cannibal, most people are dead too. Smoke covers the sky so the sun never shines and nothing can grow.
Father and Son run from cannibals and search for food to survive, but there's a gray pall that spreads over every event because you can tell from the beginning there is no happy ending to be found in this world. However, The Road can't be called truly nihilistic, because Father and Son affirm and reaffirm that they are the good guys, that they will stay good guys, that they will never turn cannibal and watch out for each other even if it means death. Their love and morality in a world that forgot both was inspiring in ways that surprised me.
The story has been interpreted different ways. Some call it an envioronmental tale, a story of how screwed we'd be without any biosphere supporting us. Others see it literally, telling stories about history when people brutalized each other and turned to cannibalism in their starvation (about a week ago I saw a documentary on the Rwandan genocide, and watching this brought back interview bits almost word-for-word). Still others call it a morality tale, a story about what it really means to struggle to hold on to love and goodness when everything around you is trying to make you let go.
I'm not sure what to rate The Road. It moved me, but not in an exciting way like Black Swan. It left a quiet sadness behind instead that colored the next several hours of my day. I can't say whether I enjoyed it or not. I can just say it was effective.
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