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The Road

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After hearing from a couple of friends that I should see this movie I rented it last night. I found this movie to be very powerful, dark, and skillfully put together. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic America. A father is trying to keep his son safe on their journey, on foot, through an America that’s dark, dangerous, and even rife with cannibalism. The setting is so dire that many have simply killed themselves, rather than taking on the challenge of trying to survive the violent anarchy.

I was really moved by this story of a father trying to do his best, sacrificing all, to prepare his son for a world that’s sure to provide almost no future. It gets really dark, folks. It’s not a feel-good date movie by a long shot. However, it’s good in its ability to show human nature and character development. Many scenes were shot in actual, dilapidated American settings: rust belt Pennsylvania, New Orleans, Mt. Saint Helens. The producers searched out these locations and they worked really well for the movie.

Some of the camera work is really masterful. In an early scene, while the father and boy are walking through an old restaurant, the camera shows them walking over an old, dusty pile of dollar bills. The bills are no better than the other refuse. In another scene; the protagonist and his son discover an old man, walking in the same direction they are. The camera focuses on his makeshift shoes of cardboard and tape. The old man has a short role and is played by Robert Duval, an actor I’ve always admired.

One of the most powerful scenes was when the father and son were robbed of everything. The father, barefoot and carrying his son on his shoulder, chases down the bandit and robs him of everything, including the clothes on his back. In that setting, not having clothes and shoes is a death sentence. The son pleads with his father not to shoot the robber or leave him for dead as the camera shows the man disappearing in the background, standing naked in the dirt. The father’s only priority is the safety of his son.

I was troubled by the thought that this story and movie didn’t feel far-fetched. I’m blabbing on here. But, I hope I’ve given some insight on this movie. I highly recommend it.

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I have not seen this movie as it seems such a wretched depiction of the future. What this movie depicts as the future might some day happen, but until it does it will not be what I focus on as a life long hell on earth is not worthy of much contemplation nor my time.

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I read the novel by Cormac McCarthy, and I have seen the movie. I thing the film makers did a good job of capturing the essence of the story, but I highly recommend the book. The prose is captivating and you get more of the inner life of the father. It was so compelling that I read it in two nights.

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Yes Ray, "wretched" would be a good description. I suppose one must be of a certain mindset to enjoy this movie. I did appreciate the directing, acting, camera work, and character development. Bleak description of the future or not, it was a very good movie. It certainly grabs the viewer with methods other than just blantant violence. For example; a friend asked me if I saw "Book of Eli". The previews of that one, although set in similar conditions, looked too "Rambo" for me to want to see it. It just wasn't believable. Ironically, I bet it made more money. In The Road, the relationship between the father and his son was the foundation of the story. There was a depth to this movie that I enjoyed.

I don't like to admit that I found The Road to be believable. Shooting it in existing American landscapes helped, in that regard.

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I got a life affirming message from the book/movie. It's inspiring the way he keeps on going. His wife commits suicide, giving up, as we are led to believe many did after the disaster. He's up against seemingly insurmountable odds, but keeps on going. Why? Because he is still alive, and cannot do otherwise. The grit and determination he demonstrated forced me to question whether I could do the same given the same circumstances. And, seeing him do it gave me hope that maybe I could, too.

In the end, well I don't want to spoil it, but ...

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The only kind of apocalyptic film or novel I would want to see or read is one that offers hope, particularly showing that despite whatever adverse circumstances the characters find themselves in, getting through the present crisis successfully is worth the struggle.

One end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it novel I thought was worth my time was The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham. Wynham, whose forte is apparently stories of world-wide calamities, has in this story two or three disasters on such a scale. It's true that there are some people in the story who commit suicide, feeling that life in this new and terrifying world, where most of the world's population is stricken blind and a new species of plant-life is carnivorous and has developed locomotion (these two happenings are eventually shown to be related), is too horrible to contemplate. But the lead characters, by dealing with their situation objectively and rationally, persevere, and the reader has the impression that future generations of humans would be glad they did. Wyndham, through this story, seems to be saying that no matter how catastrophic some event(s) might be, the human mind can find a way to deal with it.

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I am not stating that I could not deal with the situation if it ever occured, I just do not like paying money to see it in fiction.

On a side note, my son and his friends wanted to see "Eli" so I rented it for them. My son and I did not like it, but his friends thought it was okay.

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