First review for The Road pops up over at Esquire

13 May


“When it was light enough to use the binoculars he glassed the valley below. Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop. He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke. He lowered the glasses and pulled down the cotton mask from his face and wiped his nose on the back of his wrist and then glassed the country again. Then he just sat there holding the binoculars and watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”

— an excerpt from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

At long last, the film version of  The Road has a new release date and the first review has popped up online. And so far, the word is good. Very good. Great even.

That’s a relief. I’m a big McCarthy fan and I consider The Road to be easily the best thing the man has ever written. In fact, it might just be one of the best American novels I’ve ever read.  Telling the story of one man and his son making their way across a bruised, battered post-apocalyptic America, The Road was both a smaller novel and a more straightforward narrative than most of McCarthy’s other works. But it hit like a sledgehammer to the stomach.

Grueling, grim and sometimes breathtakingly bleak, the novel also featured the first real hints of hope and optimism from McCarthy. Through the darkest and most dire trials the questing duo face, the father soldiers on for the sake of his young son. Despite it’s vision of a nation and a planet struggling through what could be their final days, the book is ultimately a testament to unconditional love and familial strength.

It was so amazing, I didn’t want to see a film version muck it up. The casting of Viggo Mortensen was a plus, and the addition of australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) ensured that the film would mirror the book’s bleakness. But then the film’s release date kept getting pushed back–originally from November 2008–and any hopes I had became clouded by suspicions that the film might be floundering. Now, we have a solid date for the film, October 18th, and the first actual review has surfaced.

So, what have they done with it? Well, according to Esquire, it’s “the most important movie of the year”. Go here to read the review:

One Response to “First review for The Road pops up over at Esquire”


  1. A trailer for The Road arrives! « Cinematropolis - May 15, 2009

    […] A few days ago Esquire ran an a review by critic Tom Chiarella for John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s post apocalyptic drama, The Road. The word then was good, and now the first trailer for the film, starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron,  is now up over at Yahoo! Movies. […]

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