The Road

March 13, 2012 - Viggo Mortensen is "The Man," Kodi Smit-McPhee is "The Boy," and together they travel "the road," trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The cast also includes Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron as "The Woman." The film was shot largely in the Pittsburgh area and is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy.

There's not a whole lot to enjoy about life in the world of The Road. Civilization has been wiped out by some catastrophic event (we never learn what), the sun never shines, it rains a lot, and the next earthquake is probably just minutes away. Pretty much everything and everyone is dead or dying. The people who still survive wander around in an endless search for fuel and food. Because food is so scarce, cannibalism is rampant. Some people opted for suicide rather than face this uncertain and desolate life.

Not only do we not know what caused the end of the world as they knew it, we also don't get a lot of specifics about The Man and The Boy. We do know that they are father and son, and we know that Charlize Theron was the wife/mother. They had a nice life before whatever it was happened. After that, they stuck it out for a while in their house, but then Charlize essentially sacrificed herself. She walked out into the blackness after telling her husband and son to "go south."

So, what we get for almost two hours is The Man and The Boy wearing layers of dirty clothes as they trudge through a barren landscape on their way to the southern coast. The Man promises The Boy that, no matter what, they won't eat people, and The Boy promises The Man that he'll keep the fire burning.

Overall review: *** The Road is an intense tale of survival - survival not just for the father and son, but for civilization as a whole. We know from flashbacks that the father was a civilized man. But, after some time on the road, he seems to have lost a good deal of his humanity. It's left to The Boy to be the decent, civilized one. And a little child shall lead them ...