Thursday, May 29, 2008

Critics Will Love THE ROAD, the movie by John Hillcoat

Yes, they will.

And after seeing advance screenings, this is what some critics will say about THE ROAD:

"A film that glows with the intensity of Hillcoat's huge gift for movie-making.....Why see this?....Because in its lapidary transcription of the deepest despair short of total annihilation we may ever see on screen, the movie announces the triumph of hope -- and love -- over nothingness."

And: other critics will write:


"THE ROAD is a wildly powerful and disturbing movie that exposes whatever black bedrock lies beneath grief and horror. Disaster movies have never felt more physically and spiritually real. Bravo, John Hillcoat!" -- GUESS WHO WILL WRITE THAT?


"The Road is the logical culmination of everything that Cormac McCarthy has written and it's transformation into a Hollywood movie is nothing short of stunning. You come out of the movie theater a changed person. It's that powerful!"

"It's hard to think of an apocalyptic tale as beautifully and hauntingly filmed as this one. The script possesses a massive, Biblical cadence and Hillcoat unleashes it on his actors with painterly effect. It will grip even the coldest human heart."


"Devastating. The human predicament has never been more at home, more eloquent than in the sere, postapoca ash land of THE ROAD the movie. Extraordinarly lovely and sad, a Hollywood classic-to-be."

and E:

"Hillcoast has brilliantly captured the knife edge that fugitives in a hostile world stand on......Amid this Godot-like bleakness on celluloid, the film shares something vital and enduring about the boy's spirit, his father's love and the nature of bravery itself. Hollywood doesn't get much better than this. Be prepared, be very prepared."


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

First Look: Viggo Mortensen in Cormac McCarthy's The Road
May 27, 2008
Source: NY Times
by Alex Billington

If you know your cinema, you may vaguely recognize the name Cormac McCarthy. He's the brilliant author whose novel was the basis of the Oscar winning No Country for Old Men. One of McCarthy's other highly praised novels is The Road, which is being adapted this fall by up-and-coming filmmaker John Hillcoat of 2005's The Proposition. The Road is a post-apocalyptic story about a father and his son traveling to the coast in search of safety and rescue. While there is much more to the story than just that, we'll leave the discovery up to everyone on their own. The NY Times today has the first look at the atmosphere of the film, which is key, as well as details from Hillcoat and the two stars: Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

The book takes place in a burnt out American wasteland, not long after a nuclear winter has settled in. A father and his son, traveling with only the clothes they are wearing, a pistol for protection, and a cart of scavenged food, slowly make their way down a deserted road in an attempt to get to the coast. They don't know what they'll find there, but at this point, they've got nothing else but each other and the hope that they'll find something at the end that is keeping them alive. NY Times describes the atmosphere best: "The sky is gray, the rivers are black, and color is just a memory. The landscape is covered in ash, with soot falling perpetually from the air. The cities are blasted and abandoned. The roads are littered with corpses either charred or melted, their dreams, Mr. McCarthy writes, 'ensepulchred within their crozzled hearts.'"

One movie that mind come to mind when thinking of what The Road might be like is Mel Gibson's Mad Max. Ideally, to me, it sounds like a combination of The Mist, with its bleak inescapable haze (in The Road it's ash instead), and also, sadly, Neil Marshall's disastrous Doomsday movie, another post-apocalyptic tale. Instead, John Hillcoat assures us its nothing like any of those.

"What's moving and shocking about McCarthy's book is that it's so believable," Mr. Hillcoat said. "So what we wanted is a kind of heightened realism, as opposed to the 'Mad Max' thing, which is all about high concept and spectacle. We're trying to avoid the clich├ęs of apocalypse and make this more like a natural disaster." He imagined the characters less as "Mad Max"-ian freaks outfitted in outlandish biker wear, he added, than as homeless people. They wear scavenged, ill-fitting clothing and layers of plastic bags for insulation.

Another concern, for those who are fans of McCarthy's novel, is how faithful this adaptation will be to the original work. Fortunately, screenwriter Joe Penhall has done a formidable job in staying "extremely faithful" to the story. "The script does enlarge and develop in flashback the role of the man's wife (played by Charlize Theron), who disappears quite early from the novel." However, it "lacks Mr. McCarthy's heightened, almost biblical narrative style," which is thankfully a good thing. Instead, Hillcoat says that some of McCarthy's style and feeling will come from the look, but also from "the nature of the bond between the man and the son," which is made up purely by the performances of Viggo Mortensen as the father and Australian newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee as the son.

The NY Times article continues with a great on-set story about how phenomenal both Mortensen and Smit-McPhee are working together. "Days after the filming of a climactic, emotional scene, people on the set were still marveling at Kodi's performance." Apparently Smit-McPhee has done such a great job that it's caused people on-set to tear up while filming scenes. Mortensen also chimes in with his thoughts on the story and progress.

"It's a love story that's also an endurance contest," Mortensen explains. "I mean that in a positive way. They're on this difficult journey, and the father is basically learning from the son. So if the father-son thing doesn't work, then the movie doesn't work. The rest of it wouldn't matter. It would never be more than a pretty good movie. But with Kodi in it, it has a chance to be an extremely good movie, maybe even a great one."

Based on what I've heard from a friend who is reading this book and this report from the NY Times alone, I'm fairly interested. I'm still not sure what to expect - can a story about two guys traveling down a road in a post-apocalyptic America actually be that interesting? But I suppose there are still many surprises for those like me who haven't yet finished the novel. Considering that both The Mist and Doomsday, two movies that I mentioned The Road reminded me of, weren't that amazing, this has a chance to be an amazing film. We'll be following The Road closely ourselves as John Hillcoat and crew finishes work on the film in time for its Thanksgiving release on November 26th.

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Reader Feedback - 20 Comments »
Cool, but is he still in the running for Sylvester Stallone's "Poe"???

Pickle on May 27, 2008

Wooohoooo….I got a mention in a FS article. The book is good thus far. Just need to find time to finish it.

Heckle on May 27, 2008

sounds great, love the end of the world type movies and this has a new spin to it.

Curtis on May 27, 2008

The book is fantastic, and this could be a really awesome film. One that really pulls at the heart strings. Color me excited.

Ryan on May 27, 2008

Please elaborate why the lack of McCarthy's heightened, almost biblical narrative style, is thankfully a good thing?

Matt Suhu on May 27, 2008

Goodness. McCarthy is a brilliant novelist and The Road is one of his more hopeful novels (not kidding). This is very exciting.

Sherri E. on May 27, 2008

Read this book.

Ryan on May 27, 2008

Kodi Smit-McPhee starred with Eric Bana in the Australian film 'Romulus, My Father'. It's a great little movie that you should all see if you can. It gives a glimpse of just how good Kodi is going to be as an actor as he matures.

Derek on May 27, 2008

I hope they stay as close to the book as possible. The book is quite gruesome in some points and its the only way i could see the movie being good.

Bridget on May 27, 2008

Wow. This is going straight to the top of my must see/really excited about list.

Richard on May 27, 2008

I am definitely excited about this. Hopefully I can get the book read before the film is released. And according to IMDB, Guy Pearce is in this as well. He was wonderful in Hillcoat's "The Proposition".

Zach D. on May 27, 2008

The book is amazing. Catching a glimpse of two lives that are lives with such fury and hope. Really great reading, the kind that'll make your head think and your heart ache.

Viggo is a rockin' actor, one of those artists you just KNOW is giving it his 100%. I hope the movie lives up to the book and I hope all the mental images I had of the story jump on that screen.


huckpaletos on May 28, 2008

Should be good, The Proposition was a brilliant (if overlooked?) movie. Viggo is on a role (LOTR, History of Violence, Eastern Promises…even Hidalgo was alright!) and i believe 'in the zone' and ready for a major best actor award.

chris on May 28, 2008

Anyone saw him (Viggo) in Captain Alatriste? A spanish 'mousquetaire' kinda movie. Real good.
The guy is dedicated.

huckpaletos on May 28, 2008

If it follows to ohe book, it's going to be slow moving..but I'm still going to see it. And no offense to the author of the article at all, but you should read the book before comparing the movie to Doomsday or The Mist. If the film follows the book, those two comparisons are WAAAAY off. If anything, I'd say it would be similar to…well, I can't think of anything. Maybe "Stand By Me" only with more dead people and the apocolypse…

Barry on May 28, 2008

The Road is a fricking fantastic book. I hugely agree with the guy who says it was McCarthy's most optimistic book too. I am counting the days * sigh *

GrandpaJesus on May 28, 2008

The recent Rolling Stone profile of Cormac McCarthy revealed that he'd been strongly inspired upon hearing a lecture about the effects of a massive comet strike on the Earth.

two words: polar cities. google the term. they are the next step down the Road…

danny bloom on May 28, 2008

This book has huge potential for the screen…if only the coen brothers would have opted to make it instead of No Country, which was safer, because this would have been a perfect project for them…hopefully Hillcoat can nail the looming feeling of anguish and mental strain that the book gives its readers so beautifully.

Nick on May 29, 2008

I've read this book 2weeks ago, it just make cry and I still thinking about it. Vigo will just be great I that role !

reggie said...

The Road
Awesome and marvelous movie. I just loved this movie. It has interesting story about the relationship of father and son. The Road is the most difficult movie of the year to watch. But don't miss it because it is the most riveting, emotionally challenging, and strangely beautiful movie, So go and watch The Road Movie.

dan said...

Reggie,. thanks for a good recommednation..