Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Response to The Washington Post Review of The Road

This is my entire comment on her review of The Road.

"'The Road' finally resembles little more than a highfalutin' zombie movie with literary pretensions."

And...

"At its best, "The Road" offers a profound portrait of parental devotion and a child's instinctive love of mercy and justice and gratitude, but McCarthy's fatal sense of cruelty and hyperbole make the trip a bummer."

You're describing what makes it realistic. Even our world right now, at times, has a "fatal sense of cruelty." Any rational and logical person would expect that to be magnified by tens of thousands of times in a situation like the book and movie depicts. Of course it's a "bummer." It's the end of the world as we know it. It doesn't have a clean, crisp ending with a new beginning as you see in something like Roland Emmerich's Trifecta of Non-Depressing Doom; "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012." The "happy ending" in McCarthy's "Road" is simply the fact that although the boy's father died, the boy will live on, hopefully.

You seem to be lamenting the fact that the movie didn't have this wonderful ending with blue skies and warm weather and a kiosk that sells iPods, iPhones and laptops. Here is to a realistic "disaster" movie, The New McCarthyism, it lacks the sturm und drang of Herr Emmerich but retains the flicker of humanity while showing the dregs of same.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/25/AR2009112501106_Comments.html

4 comments:

James G - Death Valley Magazine said...

Most people miss the point that “The Road” isn’t about TEOTWAWKI at all – its about the relationship between a father and son. And the pressure that a father feels from taking care of his family.

It could have been set in Washington DC with a father and son living in poverty after the death of their mother/wife – the cannibals replaced by collection agencies.

I knew the movie reviewers would totally miss the point of this flick

~James G

nomad said...

Boy, what a feel-good family hit that was.

This movie got points for being the single most depressing film I've ever seen in my goddamn life, hands down. HANDS DOWN. It made "No Country" look like Mary Poppins. Very much like Threads in that respect, but unlike Threads it blinked at the last second...

Extremely realistic too, in my opinion, though there really aren't too many historical precedents and the nature of the apocalypse was not particularly apparent: was it a nuclear winter?

The main problem I had with it was the unclear symbolism and allegory (is it trying to be realistic or is it trying to be symbolic? Which?) and what I felt was an extremely preachy subtext. McCarthy himself has stated that it was a christian film, and I just find that trite-- it's so ironic that the single greatest danger to the human species at this time is religious delusion. Maybe it was different in the book but I just found it heavy-handed, almost like a shaggy dog story.

But that's not the reason I will never, ever, EVER see it again.

I think maybe the apocalypse was because the movie depressed the plants so much that they stopped growing. Wow.

Don R. said...

@James,

Hey man, I used to read your stuff over on RYP's Forum. 8-)

I think most people miss the point of most things in life, that's why people are such pissers.

Most days I'm like the hardheaded Irishman in "The Departed," with a heavy accent, shuffling around muttering to myself, "What areya, fuckin'retarded?" 8-)

Don R. said...

@Nomad,

If there is one thing I have learned in my almost 42 years on this planet, it's that for most people, life is not a Walt Disney movie.

So, when something like "The Road" comes along, it knocks the wind out of most people.

Good.