Telluride Film Festival

The Road – premiere, reviews, clips

The Road was screened for the press yesterday and premiered today in Venice, so the first reviews are in. But you probably want to see this first:

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For more clips from the film, go to TrailerAddict.com.

John Hillcoat, Joe Penhall, Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee were at the premiere. For some pics, visit Zimbio.

The Road has also been added to the Telluride lineup. The festival opens tomorrow.

Here are some initial reviews from the Venice screenings:

In “The Road,” director John Hillcoat has performed an admirable job of bringing Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to the screen as an intact and haunting tale, even at the cost of sacrificing color, big scenes and standard Hollywood imagery of post-apocalyptic America. [The Hollywood Reporter]

John Hillcoat’s superb adaptation of the prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy leads its audience on a road to nowhere. The route takes us through blighted forests and past derelict homes, all this way to a grey and barren ocean that breaks against the shore. (…) What a haunting, harrowing, powerful film this is. Before last night’s premiere there were rumours that its lengthy post-production period (the movie was actually shot back in February 2008) spelled signs of a troubled, sickly production. By and large, those fears have now proved to be unfounded. [Guardian.co.uk]

As heartbreaking on screen as it was on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer-prize winning pages, The Road is an almost unbearably sad film, beautifully arranged and powerfully acted – a tribute to the array of talents involved. There is so much in this picture, from dread, horror, to suspense, bitterly moving love, extraordinary, Oscar-worthy art direction and a desperate lead performance from Viggo Mortensen which perfectly illustrates the wrenching desperation of parental love. But its hopelessness will make The Road hard going for general audiences: critical and awards support are vital to its commercial success or failure and even still The Road will be a challenge. [ScreenDaily.com]

John Hillcoat has made a film of power and sensitivity that works remarkably well on the big screen. It plays like a Dystopian version of Huck Finn. “Tattered gods slouching in their rags across the waste,” was how McCarthy described the father and son on their grim odyssey south across America toward the coast.

The film captures well the strange mix of heroism and seeming futility that characterises the journey. What is most impressive is the restraint the filmmakers bring to their material. The look of the film is muted and grey other than in the flashbacks to the pre-apocalyptic moments that the man (Viggo Mortensen) enjoyed with his wife (Charlize Theron) before the world ground to a halt. [Independent.co.uk]

The Road is harrowing and beautifully composed. It aestheticises horror, thus getting away with ugly, disturbing, even ghoulish scenes by turning them into the cinematic equivalent of those Sebastiao Salgado photographs of Brazilian gold miners.

McCarthy’s novel worked partly because of what it left to the imagination. The film leaves nothing to the imagination — not even a cellarful of desperate human cattle who are being kept alive for slaughter. So although Joe Penhall’s script is remarkably faithful to the original, it doesn’t feel quite right. The film is bleak and visionary, but it leaves a faintly nasty taste in the mouth, as if it wanted to rope in the horror fans under its arthouse cloak. Yet there’s no denying its raw power. [London Evening Standard]