I went to see The Road last night, and I wondered how many people in the (quite busy) theatre were expecting to experience the excitment, adventure, and ‘Mad Max’ type shennanigans that the trailer suggested they were going to see. But Mad Max this is not. The film is bleak and grey and not for the faint hearted. It does a pretty good job of translating Cormac McCarthy’s powerfully emotive and harrowing novel to the screen – unfortunately losing the beauty of his prose – but I can’t imagine being able to feel the depth of the film without having first read the novel.
As I always do, I’ve been over to IMDB to read the threads written by others who have seen the film, and one of the most common discussions is about the cause of the planet’s breakdown and the possibility of such a thing happening. People want to know was it nuclear, was it a volcano, was it a meteor, why has society collapsed, why can’t they build a steam turbine (seriously), why can’t they grow food in a greenhouse (!), why, why, why … but this is not the point of the story. It’s not a blockbuster about the apocalypse. It’s not science fiction. It’s not 2012. It’s not The Day After Tomorrow. It’s not Mad Max. It’s a simple story about a man who will go to any length to protect his son; a man who knows he is going to die and leave his boy to survive alone. It is, ultimately, about a man’s love for his son. And on The Road, that is all that matters.