The adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men often receives praise, but the film version of The Road rarely gets as much recognition. This is a shame, since the movie depicts McCarthy’s bleak apocalyptic tale in a way that’s worthy of the novel—and expands upon his minimalist prose in order to stretch the story and make it more appropriate for the visual sphere.
The Road follows a father and son, both of whom are among the survivors of the apocalypse. They’re stuck traveling through a devastated America, desperately trying to reach the coast in the hopes that there will be some sort of salvation there. We follow them as they attempt to survive the journey, finding the little food and water available to them and pointedly avoiding other survivors.
The film adaptation of the story stays fairly loyal to McCarthy’s novel, only excluding a few minor details from the original story. One thing that the film really definitely gets right is the setting. The movie’s landscape is every bit as barren and bleak as the book describes, and the interactions between the father and son only further the feelings of hopelessness invoked by the setting.
The relationship between the two main characters is also brilliantly portrayed by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, evoking the same heartwrenching emotions that it does in McCarthy’s book. The combination of the film’s writing and the acting will make viewers feel for these characters and their dire circumstances, and that sort of reaction is exactly what both versions of The Road are about.