The Road: Are we there yet?

Movie:The Road
Company:Dimension Films
Director:John Hillcoat
Starring:Viggo Mortensen
Kodi Smit-McPhee
Charlize Theron
Robert Duvall

        I remember The 80's. The Cold War was coming to a head. The Soviet Union saber-rattled and postured (in between swearing in new heads of state). America, helmed by a capable and unapologetic leader, was finding her feet after a season of malaise. The United Kingdom, itself helmed by 'The Iron Lady', stood a fast ally by our side. And the American and Worldwide Left, as usual, sniped at our heels with any undermining tactic which they could muster. The most memorable of these was the Post-Nuclear-War-Apocalypse movie. This Hollywood classic was The Left's attempt to convince the collective conscience of the American people to just give up and let The Soviets have their way, because “That Cowboy in The White House is gonna blow up the world!”. The barrage of this message was so constant that the genre was soon over-done and eventually became a parody of itself. Yet, despite missing the market timing sweet spot by about twenty-five years, Hollywood now offers us up, “The Road”.

        “The Road” is based on a 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy, who also lived through The Cold War, spins a bleak tale of a father trying to keep his son alive in a Post-Nuclear-War-Apocalypse. His wife is dead. The plants are dead. The animals are dead. The insects are dead. The food is gone. Humanity devolves into savagery and cannibalism. Packs of men scour the woods to scavenge and possibly take as a prisoner their next meal. “The Road” is an example of the Post-Nuclear-War-Apocalypse movie at its dreariest.

        Remembering The 80's, and having seen my share of this brand of Leftist theater, I found myself asking a lot of questions. Viggo Mortensen plays the unnamed father, Charlize Theron plays the unnamed mother. The nuclear war comes, and soon afterward the mother gives birth to a son, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. Father, mother, and son live for the next ten years or so, in the same house, having no problems with food, water, radiation, or roving bands of savage cannibals. Until one day the mother decides to commit suicide and walks into the cold night without a jacket. She figured pulling a Captain Oates would not waste one of the cliché two remaining bullets left in the father's pistol. Her last words to the father is a plea to take their son south because he would not survive another winter where they lived.

        This confused me because after ten years of living in the same place I would think that they had the whole “living in a Post-Nuclear-War-Apocalypse” thing figured out. But that wasn't how the story went and the father takes his son from their ten year safehouse to wander amongst the cannibals. And best yet, rather than stick to the woods for safety, they spend most of their time walking on “The Road” in plain sight. Obviously, the last place a roving band of cannibals would look.

        At some point I started thinking about the extinction of all of the animals and that's when the story's whole premise really started to unravel for me. The movie plainly states that the apocalypse was preceded by flashes of light and percussive explosions. Sounds like a nuclear war to me. However, in “The Road”, humans survived the radiation but rats, mice, ants, cockroaches, and houseflies did not. I was left wondering if Cormac McCarthy was more intent on channeling Rachel Carson's paranoia than adhering to basic biology. I would think that in a world where everything weaker than humans succumbed to radiation that the real danger would be roving packs of starving rats, not humans. But, again, that wasn't how the story went. So father and son walk on, immune to the radiation, and even have no problem popping open and chowing down whatever radioactive canned goods they might find.

        However, the real downfall of “The Road” is that it is too slow and too long. Only a welcome, well acted, and too short cameo by Robert Duvall briefly interrupted me as I continually checked my watch and thought to myself, “Yes! We get it!”.

        Rather than making a statement on the horrors of war, “The Road” is instead a modern release in a vintage style which hopes for a comeback and fails. Cormac McCarthy might have done better to stick with the current themes which The Left is using to scare their way into power, like “Global Warming”.

Hollywood, STFU Rating: 3 Hammer and Sickles