The Road


Newsweek magazine’s correspondent Ramin Setoodeh hit a strange note with me on his review of the latest film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Road starring Viggo Mortensen. I’m not really sure what Ramin was whining about when he blamed George W. Bush’s stint in The White House for a running trend of awfully depressing, emotionally discomforting films. He then dismisses The Road by piling it onto a stack of other seemingly morose films that he believes are a direct result of a politically charged, liberalistic brigade of Hollywood movie directors who felt they needed to push the operatic envelope in order to express their restlessness in response to the dissonance occurring between the American public and Bush’s well, whole fucking agenda.
Apparently film companies wait until this time of year to ‘drag’ out their most emotionally weighty films for award “consideration.” In Setoodeh’s opinion it’s just icing on the shit-layer cake that has been accumulating since ole “dub-ya” took office. His basis for comparison is a flurry of warm-hearted comedies that were on the Academy’s best picture nominees list during Bill Clinton’s 97-2000 Presidency. I.e. Shakespeare In Love, As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, all notably shitty movies that until reading his review were completely forgotten. During Bush’s second term the nominees for best picture only held two comedies, Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, two movies whose main-characters, to me, seem even harder to believe than the post-apocalyptic, dystopian world that The Road brings to life. The other nominees on the list that Ramin mentioned were The Departed; There Will Be Blood and The Reader. All movies that he felt were essentially fixated on death and coincidently all also fell under my “great-fuckin movie” rating. Mostly because they dealt with what I felt was something more realistic and therefore had a more resonating effect.
The thing that confuses me is that if you turn the magazine two pages back, you come to a review, also by Setoodeh, praising the new war film Brothers, starring Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal. A story about the nightmares that soldiers could face when their tortured souls return home from the hell that is war. Given the context of Brothers and Setoodeh’s previously mentioned theory on the Bush presidency’s affect on Hollywood, it seems he is without a hint of irony. Regardless of whether or not Setoodeh knows what the shit he’s talking about. Or whether or not the muse for depressing films is rooted in politics. I for one am enjoying the brooding tone of recent films and I encourage it, even if it is in the wake of a shitty president.
The truth is The Road is an extremely grim, rather depressing film that’s also extremely engrossing and tremendously well acted. And given the apocalyptic suggestions floating around recently the film does have a take on the genre that rings more realistic than say, 2012 for example. And the film will leave a lasting impression on moviegoers wrought by the vivid reality of a post apocalyptic wasteland. Even if the reality does reside in a future that may or may not (probably not) happen.

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~ by Santiago on December 5, 2009.

One Response to “The Road”

  1. it’s been a while since i’ve seen a decent movie at the theater, so ‘Brothers’ was a welcome surprise; that movie will get nominated for at least a few awards I’m sure

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