Saturday, February 07, 2009

We Can't Wait #13 The Road

Directed by John Hillcoat
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Robert Duvall
Synopsis In a post-apocalyptic world a father and son travel around the wasted country side trying to find food, water, and shelter in the most hostile environment imaginable.
Brought to You By 2929 Productions
Expected Release Date TBA

Whitney: Cormac McCarthy has a way of writing that lends itself to the screen. Coming from the director of The Proposition, the screen captures we've seen so far are looking pretty dead on. This novel reads almost like a vague script, focusing on quick images and horrifying details that leaves a lot to the imagination, and yet leaves a clear nightmare with you long after reading. I actually just received a copy as a wedding present!

Nathaniel: To be given The Road as a wedding present is... is... someone help me out here. What's the word I'm looking for? Were you registered at Survivalists R' Us?

Fox: Is it gonna be inevitable that audiences will compare The Road adaptation to No Country For Old Men? Is that fair? But that's gotta be in the back of everyone's mind who is involved with this film. Seeing that The Road is a post-apocalyptic tale and that The Proposition kinda felt like a post-apocalyptic Western, the teaming up of John Hillcoat with this story seems fitting, but I wonder what the result will be. I always love watching Viggo, and Robert Duvall is simply one of the most badass men ever!

JA: I think moving The Road to this year from last actually helped it step somewhat out of the shadow of NCFOM; whereas the thought was on my mind when thinking of this film last year, it hadn't occured to me this go-around until you brought it up. NCFOM-mania seems so long ago now, doesn't it?

McCarthy's book wounded me. I tend to always be reading a book - finish one, pick right up the next - but post-Road I couldn't read anything for months. I can't imagine what it did to Oprah's Book Club. If the movie retains even a tenth of the power of the book it'll be an amazing feat, and I really dug The Proposition so I think Hillcoat might be able to wrangle an even higher percentage than that. Hell, if he captures even a smidgen of the essence of the scene in the basement - if you've read the book I think you know of which I speak - this film is gonna leave a mark.

Nathaniel: As the only one of us whose seen the movie already (albeit in work print form) I shall remain mum. Other than to say that I'm so curious to see what they tweaked, what they finessed, what survived...

Which is always an appropriate question for The Road. What survives?

In case you missed any entries they went like so...
We Can't Wait:
#1 Inglourious Basterds, #2 Where the Wild Things Are, #3 Fantastic Mr. Fox,
#4 Avatar, #5 Bright Star, #6 Shutter Island, #7 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
#8 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, #9 Nailed,
#10 Taking Woodstock,
#11 Watchmen, #12 The Hurt Locker, #13 The Road, #14 The Tree of Life
#15 Away We Go, #16 500 Days of Summer, #17 Drag Me To Hell,
#18 Whatever Works, #19 Broken Embraces, #20 Nine (the musical)
intro (orphans -didn't make group list)



Marshall said...

I hate to be this guy, but I realllly don't see how this translates well to film. I mean I'm not even joking the only thing I could imagine is a radio drama with really good sound effects. And why doesn't anyone do those anymore? Bring back Johnny Dollar!

Anonymous said...

Seems very similar to "Children of Men"

Garen said...

I had the same experience with Books as JA after reading it. I think it's because the book affected me so strongly. It gave me nightmares, I couldn't go in any basement for weeks, I was balling uncontrollably for the last 30 pages or so. To say it's a magnificent book is an understatement, but who wants all that baggage when they sit down to read? I didn't read anything for a few months afterward for fear of repeating that experience I think.

Anonymous said...

This definitely would be my #1 movie I can't wait for.

Anonymous said...

Nat, you've seen the rough cut of this movie, correct? Tell us what you thought.

Kurtis O said...

I recently finished this book. Amzing, vivid writing. I was reading the final pages out loud to a friend and I couldn't get through them without crying. At the risk of sounding like a novel novice, I've never had that experience with a book before. Just, someone answer me this: why such big names like Theron, Pearce, and Duvall for what must be tiny little roles? Or - and this is for you, Nathaniel - has the text been expanded considerably?


anon --- you just click on the link for my thoughts on the early cut of this movie

rosengje said...

I'm not sure how to appropriately convey how dissimilar this is to Children of Men. Much much bleaker.

Guy Lodge said...

I hate to be the philistine who says this, but your poll leaves no option for those who did read the book but didn't LOVE it. We do exist.

Before I get tarred and feathered and banished from the space of intelligent adults, let me just add that I'm a McCarthy devotee. And "The Road" is, sentence for sentence, a gorgeous piece of work. But the storytelling never clicked for me -- the monotony of the characters' actions never took on a cumulative power for me. I still can't really figure out why.

It has me both nervous and excited for the film -- there's a lot to play with there.

Glenn said...

It's interesting that all of you guys (except Nat, right?) have seen The Proposition.

Anonymous said...

NATHANIEL, I'm trying to avoid reading too much about this movie but I just got to know does Charlize Theron bring it? I've been so underwhelmed by her since "Monster" and I hope this will show her true abilities again. I've heard that her role is expanded from the book and I love the idea of her and Viggo playing off each other.


wayne be -- i didn't really feel like the role was that expanded, no. I thought Theron brought it in Sleepwalking, personally, but the film was such a slo that I can't really recommend it to people, her stunning work aside.

Lucas Dantas said...

i must start reading these books before the movies are out. i didn't manage to read blindness before the film and i kinda regret it now. however - there's still time.


Guy i have no idea what you're talking about. There are only 3 options


FranklinBluth said...

Re: Woodstock

It is a very short book, you'll DEFINITELY be able to finish it before the film is released.

Laurie Mann said...

I'm very eager to see this movie.

While there are certainly parallels to Children of Men (it's a post-apocalytpic movie), CoM was a much bigger movie than The Road will be. Hillcoat stuck pretty close to the book. The Road will be a small, intimate movie about a father and a son trying to survive. The protagonist of CoM (in the movie anyway) was often extremely passive and was often pulled along. Father in The Road is a quietly active character. There was also a hint of mysticism to CoM that I didn't detect in The Road, which is as gritty and realistic a story as you're going to see.

N_Friction said...

Re: Laurie,

At first I didn't see any mysticism or spirituality in The Road but there is an essay which is one) full of spoilers two) an excellent description of NCFOM and The Road as lessons in the Natural Law tradition. The meaninglessness of the horror witnessed by the Man and the Boy in the novel are no less wretched in that thesis, but it helped me to categorize the difference between their behavior and the rest of the world's.

(Beware Spoilers)

Through the lens of Natural Law tradition, I can see the world McCarthy presents as perfectly (read: thoroughly) natural, gritty, and realistic -so much so that it becomes mystical.

An aside: I've been a devotee of modern zombie apocalypse mythologies for a few years now and reading The Road blew them apart.

Olabian said...

I read the book, loved the book. When, when when will I be able to finally see it?

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the book and don't know if I could watch the movie. The book was so visual - left me horrified and numb with fear.

This book made me do something I've never done before - 1/2 way through I had to read the last few pages before I could continue reading. I had to know how it ended.

I love Viggo, but this may be a movie I have to pass on.