Ringer Preston sends us this review of Viggo Mortensen’s ‘The Road’ – which has been in limited release since Nov 25th. Please note, spoilers ahead…

When I first sat down to read The Road, I quickly read ten or so pages and was off to something else; how typical in this era of “must be multitasking.” Returning to the book two days later on a Saturday morning I was mesmerized, completing the balance of the book in one sitting.

The RoadIn his book Cormac McCarthy painted a picture that I have had difficulty putting out of my mind, and has left me reeling with apocalyptic visions that have shaken me to the core of my being–with the movie coming out, though delayed several times, I knew I had to see it. I was simply drawn to it.

Viggo Mortensen (expect an Oscar nomination here), Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall and newcomer Kodi Smith-McPhee , along with Director John Hillcoat and Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe have created a masterpiece that will endure as a sincere testament to the bond a parent feels for a child, and the obligation that bond engenders.

The end of the world scenario is simple and we’ve heard it over and over, yet in The Road the now standard hyperbole is washed away by the purest of stories: survive in a world where all that once was is gone, food is scarce and the evil the conditions of this nature would breed is everywhere. Protect the boy. Travel the road toward the coast. Eat.

In the movie, as in the book, the world has experienced some sort of naturally occurring geophysical shift, and is now destroying itself. All animals and people are gone, save pockets of survivors. Essentially, as Robert Duvall’s “Old Man” says “I knew this was going to happen, there were warnings, I always felt it…not like some con, but I always felt it” underscores the biblical nuances McCarthy uses to make us understand, this was not caused by man.

Mortensen’s quest, though not an Arthurian quest for good, is to get his son south to the coast–the coast representing hope, and the quest, simply for survival. Along their journey on the road, they portray themselves as “good-guys” in a world of bad guys, but as their journey continues the realities of the stark new world begin to blur the lines between good and evil, and evil could just be a metaphor for survival. These lines, of course, fade much more quickly for some, though in the mind of a child not yet tainted by the real world, be it an apocalyptic world, or today’s world, goodness, hope and purity endure, and as the father knew, would be rewarded. I highly recommend it.