Ma's View:

We saw this movie some time ago but were not inspired to write about it at the time.  Certainly it has a lot to say about morality and the almost impossibility for modern man (so dependent on creature comforts) to maintain this in the face of extreme adversity when it becomes "every man for himself".  On a more dramatic scale, it is Lord of the Flies revisited.

The movie is based  on the Pulitzer prize winning novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy - unfortunately we had not read the book which may have enriched our viewing somewhat.  Australian director John Hillcoat has produced a sombre portrayal of a post-apocalypse world where nothing grows and everything is in a state of destruction and chaos.  It is a 'dog eat dog' world where every kind of brutality is rife - violence, looting, rape, even cannibalism.  Through this hell, The Man and The Boy (no names are given for they are "everyman") try to make their way to a better life supposedly to be found in the south.  These characters are powerfully played by Viggo Mortensen (who starved himself in preparation) and  Australian child actor, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Romulus, My Father).

The most interesting aspects of the film are not derived from the dramatic and horrifying attacks the two face but from the examination of the relativity of morality - how do you teach a child right from wrong in such a world? how can he learn about beauty, music, nature, love?  when it comes to the crunch, could you kill someone in order to protect your child?  could you kill the child in order to protect him from a worse fate?  how can you teach him to kill himself if the necessity arises in the inevitable event you are no longer there?  Appropriately, it is the Boy who teaches the Man, for in his innocence, he maintains a trust and spontaneous generosity, almost recognising instinctively when some one is "one of the good guys".

Clearly, there are religious overtones and the movie is meant to depict man's road to salvation.  The father explains to the boy that they are the "good" guys because they carry "the Fire" within.  They will never do harm to another in order to survive; it is more important to preserve that inner purity.  You would not think that such a theme would lend itself to Coca Cola product placement, would you?  We found it profoundly offensive that it did!

The journey is long and arduous and so is the movie.  It is not for the faint-hearted and not for those who want it to be logical!  Why does the "saviour" follow them for weeks waiting for the Man to die?  How come he has a dog when they have all been eaten?  Where has he been finding his food to feed a family and a dog as well?  Where does he get all his ammunition?  I guess if we had been completely absorbed by the story, these questions would not have occured to us - but by then we had had enough!

My Score:  7/10

Pepe's View:

Yes we saw this movie more than a month ago and I wasn't going to write a blog as I disliked the movie so much but Ma insisted!  I am afraid the inconsistencies and illogicality in the movie just made me annoyed and I couldn't ignore them once I had started seeing them.  As Ma said, if the movie had grabbed us more we wouldn't have noticed these inconsistencies.  As for the Coke product placement - it was all the more obvious as it was the ONLY commercial product seen in the movie.  The man and boy discovered a drink machine in the ransacked city and the man pulled it apart to find the very last can of coke (in the world?).  The boy had not seen or tasted coke before and didn't know what it was and given that he was supposed to be about 10 or 11 years old we were left to believe that the apocolypse occurred some 8 years ago.  However, there were still major fires burning (for cinematic and dramatic effect rather than any logic!) all around.  I found it difficult to figure out if the disaster occurred in one big bang - nuclear war? or  society fell apart following a smaller event.  There were cars left in the middle of the viaduct as if abandoned but still intact which would indicate a major event but some houses were still standing and perfectly habitable.

All in all "Lord of the Flies" for adults but I felt it missed its mark by a long shot and any moral for me was lost in the unlikely dramatic structure of the movie.

My Score:  4/10

1 comment:

  1. Should read the book guys - I have a copy of it that I will dig out and lend you - the product placement thing does sound sucky but from memory it is actually in the book as well (the cola/drink machine event - not the type of cola). The Road is often cited by sci-fi fans as one of those unfilmable novels as the internal dialogue of The Ma is so central to the unfolding of the story, I intend to see the movie at some point but am still reeling from the treatment that "I am Legend" received so will wait a while before tackling this one.