The Road is a loose adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, released in late 2009. The film was shot in the genre of post-apocalyptic road movie. The absence of zombies with mutants and blockbuster action affects the perception of what is happening on the screen in the most unexpected way. It does not reduce, but only adds horror and horror from what he saw. And this despite the fact that the creators, John Hillcoat and Joe Penhal, who worked on the adaptation, did not dare to insert into the film all the dark and wild naturalism from the literary source. Also in the movie, the scale of events is deliberately underestimated, and there is not a single hint of a happy ending. Instead of cool lone heroes who carry out the sacred mission of the elect, only surviving people, scattered and doomed, appear in the frame. More precisely, not people, but what was left of them after several years of wandering around the world scorched by the catastrophe. The characters in the picture don’t even have names.
The main characters of the picture, a man and a boy of eight years old, who survived after a man-made collapse, are on their way to the ocean through terrible devastated places. Their task is clear – to get food, find shelter for the night, protect themselves from danger and move forward along the road to where it should be better, at least warmer and more satisfying. The post-apocalyptic environment is not just gloomy and depressing, it is depressing. Nothing alive – not a blade of grass or a tree, not an animal or an insect. Dirt, dullness, ashes, darkness. You can meet only surviving people, most of which bear little resemblance to humans. In search of resources for survival, dirty creatures in rags, with rotten teeth and disheveled hair, wild and embittered, have been roaming the earth for several years now. They distort and defile everything around, live by looting, murder and cannibalism.
Explanation of the meaning of the film “The Road” and its ending
Father and son do not become like them, but try in every possible way to preserve the human principle in themselves. And the theme of morality comes to the fore in the film. How to deal with the counter – to share supplies, which we ourselves are few, or to rob? What to do with those who try to turn you into prey and roast you for dinner? In the revolver, the father has only two cartridges, which are left as a last resort, “for himself.” He firmly holds his son by the hand and confidently leads him along the road.
In the flashbacks periodically shown in the film, pictures of the past life of the characters flicker. Here the main character says goodbye to his dying wife and promises to survive in this hell and take care of their baby. The son does not know anything about how it was before. His childhood was spent not with games at the computer or in the school yard, but in wanderings through the devastated land. He is more like not a child, but a small animal that learns from the leader how to fight and survive.
This is the second idea of the plot: to show the relationship between father and son, who are in captivity of circumstances, the unwitting victims of which they became. The man calls them “good people” and explains why: they don’t kill anyone, they scavenge on plant food and carrion that they can find, they behave non-aggressively. The second difference from the “bad guys” is that they have a “fire inside”: this is how the father explained to the child that a person is able to overcome and endure a lot, as long as he has something to hope for and believe in, for whom to live.
At the end of the film, another theme reaches its apotheosis – parental love and sacrifice. Having reached the coast, father and son are deeply disappointed: it is no less deserted and hopeless here. The emaciated and exhausted father, who has long been tormented by coughing up blood, dies. The orphaned boy is found by another man. In it, the viewer recognizes a character who once met the heroes of the film. A well-armed and equipped man with a dog spooked them near the bunker with the cannibal farm. The man has a wife and a child – the boy heard his voice when he and his father stumbled upon a rural house that retained traces of a peaceful former life. The orphan agrees to continue the journey with them. At this time, a close-up camera shows the hands of the people who took the boy away: several fingers are missing from them. Adults lost them voluntarily in order to feed their children in a hopeless situation.
The film “The Road” with the seeming simplicity of the plot about the apocalypse and survival is a parable, a multifaceted metaphor. After watching this heavy and gloomy picture, the viewer, numb with horror, thinks. Can we, in the struggle for existence, not turn into non-humans devouring each other? Do we have the strength and courage to resist the circumstances and not give up until the last moment? What can we do for our loved ones? It is not for nothing that in the course of the film narrative, the questions of the son addressed to the father are heard – about “good people” and “inner fire” in a person.