The Road (Blu-ray)
Everyone has their own definition of “horror”, with the word manifesting itself into a deranged serial killer or a fierce monster in most Hollywood films. For me, true “horror” is when a film paints a scenario that weighs on you and damages your psyche. In this case, THE ROAD managed to do just that; create a somewhat realistic scenario that I found myself thinking about long after I finished watching the film.
We catch up with a father and a son living in a world that has been destroyed. There’s no wildlife, no plants and everything is hard to come by. To make matters worse, most of the people that have survived are now cannibals and have no morals or respect for human life. But they continue their journey south in search of nothing more than hope.
The fault of the film lies with how screenwriter Joe Penhall structured the story. There’s a specific moment where the father awakens and looks out the window, presumably seeing that the world has been scorched and life as we know it is over. But it was a fleeting scene that we needed more of. I know they didn’t want to turn this into a disaster movie and instead focus on the bond between father and son, but I really felt that the moment they realized the world was over was an important scene that could have improved the film. I really enjoyed the flashbacks as a whole and felt they added a depth to the story that couldn’t be told in their present day.
But the point of the film is the bond between father and son and the undying “fire” to continue living. It’s a tall task to portray that without much in the way of props or events. We go from one horrible, unspeakable situation to another and it drains the emotions out of the audience. That bond between them was the only bright spot in the whole film and although special, I didn’t feel it was enough to carry us through the film. The film needed a deeper exploration of the idea of good and evil in a post apocalyptic world, but every time we got close to that theme, we seemed to lose it. I liked how the boy still had good in him, as a representation of his innocence and how the father continued to lose the good in him as the film progressed. That theme just needed to be explored further.
The idea of waking up one day and finding the world to be completely destroyed is both petrifying and fascinating. It makes you question what you would do in a similar situation and whether or not you would have the strength or desire to continue living. The film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novel was an excellent film, but with some missed opportunities and unexplored themes, it fell just short of being great.
Video: The film felt a bit grainy at times with the black levels coming through a little saturated. It’s an extremely dark film with blacks and grays being used almost exclusively. But in daylight scenes, the picture was great with what minor detail there was coming through wonderfully.
Audio: This is a very simple audio mix, but the DTS-HD mix sounded great. The minor effects such as wind blowing and sticks cracking came through exceptionally well.
Commentary with John Hillcoat: Although this was his first commentary, Hillcoat did a great job of walking us through the film and detailing everything he thought we’d find interesting. He covered just about every aspect of filmmaking and gave some interesting tidbits along the way. This commentary is definitely worth the time.
Deleted Scenes (6:36): Nothing about these five scenes stood out as being special and most seemed to be cut for pacing reasons.
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