Dec 2, 2009
REVIEW: no-one told me how good The Road was
Look, I get it. I do. I understand that The Road is a tough sell. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world where it rains all the time and humans have been reduced to cadaverous scavengers. There's cannibalism. There are symbolic cameos from blind men. It sometimes veers dangerously close to allegory and is hard to describe without using the word "fable." Its color palette veers between grey brown, brown-grey, grey and brown. In short, it sounds as much fun was a wet camping trip. But could at least one of the critics who reviewed it have pointed out the not inconsequential fact that it is also one of the most moving films of the year? In terms of actual tears shed, it's the winner. I blame Viggo Mortenson. Yes the script is beautifully spare, the world hauntingly imagined and the camerawork stark and lovely, but really it's all down to Mortenson and the look in his eyes when he looks his son in the eye and tells him everything is okay: there's not a moment in this film when you don't believe he would do anything for that boy, including put a bullet in his head to save him from some of the fates on offer. Remember at the end of Eastern Promises when Mortenson pleads with the hoodlum to hand over the baby? The imploring look in his eye, the suppleness of his gestures, all the hardness in his body evaporating until he seems to be communicating solely through his outstretched hands. His entire performance in The Road is like that — it's the kind of acting that halts horses.