Melancholy Marvels

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The Road (2009)



If there’s a film that encapsulates the bleak melancholy that cinema can offer, it’s John Hillcoat’s The Road, based on the incredibly sombre novel by Cormac McCarthy. We’re transported into a post-apocalyptic world where a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are walking alone through a burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, with the gray snow falling from a black sky. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food — and each other. Undoubtedly, this film shows us the darkest side of cinema, but the bond between the central characters as they try to survive in the wasteland is what the audience will cling to as their silver lining on a very dark cloud.


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