Thursday 21 January 2010
The Road - Film Review
The film of The Road is harrowing experience.
Set in the apocalyptic aftermath of what appears to be a comet strike which causes a global nuclear winter where the ash and debris hurled into the upper atmosphere causes the eco-sphere to collapse, the whole film is a journey into death.
The author, Cormack McCarthy, is 76 years old and has a 10 year old son and he stated in public that the book begun to formulate in his mind after he began to wonder what might happen to his son if he were to die. The road is his own mortality and the passing of time.
Therefore we understand that the book, and the film, are musings on mortality.
The film charts the journey of a father and son across a devastated America about a decade after the impact, which has become a wilderness of dead trees, gray ash inches deep and roaming bands of cannibals who kill and eat anyone they meet on the road.
We see how the father and son scavenge to survive and how they fight to stay alive in a world ruled by constant struggle, where the weak are consumed by the strong.
On the road they meet various people who they seek to help as best they can, though each encounter only serves to reinforce the reality that they must keep moving and can carry no passengers.
The father, a man motivated by his sense of morality, even has to kill in order to survive and protect himself and his son.
There is no sense of hope in the film until one magical moment.
Whilst roaming along the coast line and rummaging through an abandoned and burtn out building on a pier, the boy finds a small metal tin on the floor.
Inside the tin is a beetle, in a vivid green polished shell.
And it is alive.
As he picks the tin box up from the floor, the beetle takes flight and flies away.
It is the first living thing they have seen, other than other human beings, for over a decade.
The beetle represents hope.
The beetle has to have come somewhere with green grass, blue sky, clean water and living trees.
A place where life is regenerating.
The beetle is life itself in one of own of its many mystical forms reaching out to explore the world and to claim the earth back from the ash.
Therefore the planets bio-sphere is healing, and sooner or later the ash will blow away in the wind and in its place, fragile green seedlings will burst through the crust and reach on their thin stems towards the sun and as as hope promised, one day the world will be green again and that life, in all its myriad wondrous guises, will return.
After Ragnarok, the Gods return to rejuvenate the earth.
That small beetle, is the world itself.
A universe of meaning in such simplicity.
At the end of the film the boy finds a new family, as his father passes away.
One of the children with the family is a young girl a little younger than the boy.
Together they will begin the human story.
Therefore even human life has hope.
The father though dead has done his duty, his lifes work.
His is the victory and the redemption.
He has preserved own life within his son, the fire within, and now the son will pass his fire onto into his son.
A new road has opened its way forwards and the future beckons, as new hope arises.