Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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This faithful adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy book tells the story of a man and his son, trying to survive like normal humans in a post-apocalyptic world that is broken beyond all normalcy. It follows the trials of the man and the boy and their shopping cart full (and empty…) of food and as they try to survive the hardships of the Road, both physically and mentally, as the walls of the world seem to slowly close in…

John Hillcoat’s movie The Road is a very faithful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s book of the same name, both in the scene-to-scene plot progression (such as it is) and the overall mood. I liked the book for it’s atmosphere and more thoughtful (and therefore, frightening) portrayal of the violent, post-apocalyptic world that we have seen many times before. Hillcoat’s movie does the same, choosing to show the post-apocalyptic world as dreary, empty, desperate and frightening as opposed to action-packed and filled with opportunity.

In my review of the book, I (perhaps a bit respectlessly…) warned the reader that at times it felt a bit more like a stylistic exercise than a proper story. The movie is much the same, with slow scenes and flashbacks establishing the characters’ past, but never really looking to the future (which, of course, is the point). The lack of story progression bothered me a lot less on screen than on paper though – you spend a lot less time with a movie than a book, and that means that the movie’s heavy mood keeps you in it’s clutches all the way through, without giving you time to wonder where it is all going.

The movie is hardly enjoyable – it’s really dark and frightening – but it is very good at what it wants to do, and worth watching if only for its grim take on a genre that has at times become so derivative and trope-filled that we’ve stopped thinking about the day-to-day horrors of what life after the apocalypse could really be like.


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