Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Road

If there’s a more dramatic cinematographic expression of bleakness, I’ve never seen it. Leaving the theater through the dimly-lit hallway felt a little like walking in a funeral recession, and walking into the yellow light of the lobby wasn’t quite like what I imagine entering Heaven might feel like, but it was, nonetheless, somewhat of a relief.

Not that I didn’t like the movie; in fact, I think it an impressive and well-executed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel of the same name (which, by the way, is bleaker still.

The reviews for this film have been somewhat harsh. My theory for this reaction by the public and by self-proclaimed film experts is simply that The Road is not Twilight (or Blue Moon or whatever the hell the new teeny-bopper flick is called). Nor does The Road have the requisite action-packed sequences to get our (excuse me, most of our) blood pumping and the promise of which lead to astronomical numbers at the box office—no matter how bad the movie.

In a word, The Road doesn’t feature the formulaic screenwriting that directors and producers (and their funders) know you’ll pay to see; instead, it collapses them. The Roadis philosophical, psychological, emotional, and intellectual, whereas films such as Blue Moon only pretend to be.

The failures of films such as Blue Moon to be authentic reflect the failures of people to be rational, critical-thinking beings, for time and time again, we buy into them (literally).

But I digress.

The Road is superior to anything else “now playing” for many reasons, but the one of the most glaring is that Cormac McCarthy—who also gave us the novels on which the films No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses were based—is simply a superior writer and one to whom Stephenie Meyer couldn’t hold a candle.

Be critical of the critics for once, and go see The Road. You might cry, but it won’t be over the loss of the $10 you spent to see it. Or be critical of me, and don’t see it—your loss!

1 comment:

  1. Your comments regarding the critics might hold water were they doing flips over New Moon (currently ranked 30% at Rotten Tomatoes) and not recommending The Road (currently 71% at Rotten Tomatoes). It just doesn't seem like you've given much reason to be "critical of the critics" when the critics are backing this film and most certainly are not backing New Moon.

    I haven't seen anybody make such a comparison, in fact, before you did. Comparing The Road to New Moon just seems silly, as does comparing McCarthy to Meyer. Your post is the first time I've seen anybody do so in the same breath.

    In other words, if The Road is a terrific film than it should be recommended on that basis and not on the basis that it is better than New Moon. Everything is better than New Moon.