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The road - Charlize Theron, Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, John Hillcoat

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

A post-apocalyptic tale describing a journey taken by a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) over a period of several months across a landscape blasted years before by an unnamed cataclysm that destroyed civilization and, seemingly, most life on earth.

Theatrical propaganda posters

The road theatrical one sheet imageThe road theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film thriller science fiction post-apocalypse action father son cannibalism survival morality

Persons of interest

  • Charlize Theron .... Wife
  • Viggo Mortensen .... The Man
  • Garret Dillahunt .... The Gang Member
  • Guy Pearce .... The Veteran
  • Robert Duvall .... Old Man
  • Molly Parker .... Veteran's Wife
  • Michael K Williams .... The Thief
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee .... The Boy
  • Brenna Roth .... Road Gang Leader
  • Jeremy Ambler .... Man In Cellar #1
  • Bob Jennings .... Cannibal #2
  • David August Lindauer .... Amputee Man #1 In Cellar
  • Jack Erdie .... Cannibal #1
  • Nick Pasqual .... Militant #2
  • Aaron Bernard .... Militant
  • Jared Pfennigwerth .... Militant Member
  • Kirk Brown .... Bearded Man In Cellar
  • Mark Tierno .... Baby Eater
  • Chris Sechler .... Ghostly Boy
  • Cormac McCarthy .... Author
  • Joe Penhall .... Screenwriter
  • John Hillcoat .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Well, that sucks. The only thing worse than the Apocalypse is living through the Apocalypse. What would you do? Do you have an underground nuclear bomb shelter? Do you have supplies to last 10 years? Do you have breeding stock to restart humanity? Do you have guns to defend yourself? Are you a good person or a bad person? What will you do when the shit hits the wall? Now take a walk along The road and find out.

The most probable outcome is not what you see in the film: it falls foul of the dreaded Hollywood Happy Ending™. What should've happened is a greater degree of unknowingness. Maybe the boy contemplates suicide as his father prepared him to. Maybe the rescuer isn't a good man. Maybe we don't know if the rescuer is a good man or a bad man (see John Sayles' Limbo for an open ending). Maybe there is no rescuer. Maybe the boy is left to travel down the road by himself. Any of those alternatives would be far more interesting.

I liked the devastation wrought by the unnamed catastrophe; we don't need to know how the world was fucked, just that it was. I liked Viggo Mortensen's depression and desperation. He is a husband, a father, he is having his heart ripped out every day and his best hope for his son is keeping back one bullet for the final solution. Jeez, this world sucks. I didn't like the voice-over. I hardly ever like the voice-over. Voice-overs suck because they indicate that the scriptwriter couldn't figure out a way to show us what we need to know so he just tells us. Good films show the message. TV commercials tell it.

Still, if you want an almost entirely realistic vision of the world gone to hell, this is it.

The thriller, science fiction movie The road is directed by John Hillcoat and stars Charlize Theron, Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce.

Government security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Strong themes and violence)

Surveillance time

112 minutes (1:52 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 28 January 2010

Cinema surveillance images

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