Wednesday, December 23, 2009

on 'The Road'

Saw the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road yesterday afternoon.
Although prepared by the reviews, and the reading of the book more than two years ago, I was still affected.
1. The devastated areas in the film, so I hear, were all actual scenes of devastation: no special effects. The highway that goes nowhere is in Pennsylvania, and I figure the swampy areas and overgrown roads and abandoned houses are in Louisiana. The worst such scene is probably in Oregon: burnt and clear-cut forest for as far as the eye can see.
2. The flashback scenes showing the world as we presently know it (minus the real places I list above) are heartwrenching. The director, James Hillcoat, lingers just long enough on the things that will be annihilated. The color alone is enough to make you weep.
3. The impossibility of relying on the natural world - which we evolved to do - hit me as an environmentalist. I discuss this (after reading the book) in my Globe & Mail review of post-apocalyptic fiction last year. (At present, unable to upload this review as image. Contact me if you want pdf version.)
Without technology, without nature, and barely with any sustenance, human life is pared down to the relationship between parent and child. Love is all that remains in a ruined world.
McCarthy deserves all the praise he has received and will continue to receive for this profoundly thought-provoking tale.

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