Viggo Mortensen forges hard-earned path in end-of-the-world drama
We’re introduced to the main characters of The Road as a violent natural disaster hits. Suddenly, it’s the end of the world, with few survivors, no electricity or running cars, street gangs and a high occurrence of cannibalism due to a shortage of food.
The bulk of the story is that of a man and his son (Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee) who are fighting for survival in a very unwelcoming world. The road they traverse is dangerous, dreary and cold. There is little food, as all the animals have been killed off, leaving only insects and the occasional surprise can of fruit cocktail.
The world that Boy (no one in the film is given a name) grows to know is that of sickness, poverty and basic needs. His father (Man) sometimes shares stories of the world before the earthquakes and fires, but they make him sad. Boy, you see, was born after the apocalypse, to a mother (Charlize Theron) who had lost hope in the world.
The Road is a bleak end-of-the-world tale (which closely follows the story of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel) unlike the usual, sensational, Hollywood productions. It’s a story of survival, of love, of family. And in all those areas, it shines.
Mortensen is the core of the film. His determination throughout carries the story along, from present-day run-ins with thugs to flashbacks of better times. Smit-McPhee, at just 13 years old, plays an old soul in a young boy’s body. The two together are quite a team, their bond strong and determination to find a better place commanding. One can only hope the road will take them where they need to go.