The Road

DRAMA; 1hr 59min

STARRING: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Desolation road: from left, Mortensen and Smit-McPhee

On an ash-coloured, icy, dying Earth, the end result of an unspecified calamity, a father (Mortensen) and his young son (Smit-McPhee) plod across America, trundling their meagre possessions in a shopping cart. They’re dirty, they’re hungry and any one of the few survivors they encounter is a potential threat. But they’re alive.


The urge to survive is the strongest any animal has. Reflecting the ethos of Cormac McCarthy’s wintry 2006 novel, under John Hillcoat’s direction The Road is desolate and primal with humanity stripped to a feral essence. Yet the heartbeat of their horrific ordeal is a father’s love for his boy — a love that does what it has to do, whatever that entails. 


Mortensen and Smit-McPhee mesh beautifully as careworn souls: the man haunted and sustained by how it was — Theron plays his wife in buttery flashbacks — and the boy a child who never had the chance to be one. In the end, there is a window of hope. But this is no Brave New World and deliverance comes at a grievous price.