The Road Book vs. Movie

Well, I know I said I might not watch this movie, but I changed my mind. I watched it. I have never seen a movie that follows closer to the book than this one. At least ninety-percent of the dialogue is directly from the book. Ninety percent of what happens is also directly from the book. Almost the entire book was in this movie. I really have to hand it to those that made this movie. If you are a book lover and hate the way books get messed up when they get turned into movies, you’re going to want to watch this movie.

Now, on the other hand, you may not want to watch this movie. It’s very bleak. It’s very gritty. Everything is gray. I think the movie enlightens the viewer a little more as to what has happened to pitch the remaining people into this world of constant ash. It seems the Earth is dying in some way. Fires are everywhere. Earthquakes are in areas you don’t expect earthquakes. Trees die and fall over of their own accord. All the animals are gone. There is nothing green anywhere.

The entire movie is in various shades of gray. The only other color in the movie ever is red, blood-red. Blood is the only thing that gives this movie any color. If you’re the queasy of stomach you might want to skip this one.

I surmise that this movie is supposed to take place on the east coast. The mountains in the movie look like the Appalachian mountains all messed up.

I felt like the movie placed more emphasis on the man’s relationship with his dead wife. There were more flashbacks, I thought, but they could have all been in the book as well. The man finally leaves his wedding ring on the side of a freeway on ramp bridge.

It’s really hard to imagine the world being sucked of all color and life. We have seen other post apocalyptic movies. We saw New York deserted in I am Legend, but even then the people and animals of the world were still alive. The Earth was still alive. There was still color. The Road is startling in its own way.

Some of us are jerks, but others of us would want to help other we find in need. This movie displays a world where being able to help someone else in need is not a chance you get often. It’s not something you want to do. That person could be a lookout for a group of people who would want to kill you. People would readily take everything you had and care nothing if you died. This conflicts with the world that most of us want to know. We want to be able to look at the good in other people, but in this world most everybody who was good is already dead.

I have got to hand it to the little boy who was in this movie. He did a stellar job. He was able to play the scared little boy perfectly. He asked the right questions in the right way. He acted exactly as I imagine a boy in his hypothetical situation would act.

Of course, Viggo is always awesome so no need to say anything about how awesome he was in the movie.

Charlize Theron is also in this movie. I like her more and more with each movie that I see her in. Although I think she should have looked a little less pretty and a little more ragged in this film.

Both the movie and the book talk about this concept of ‘carrying the fire.’ The man always tells his son that they are carrying the fire with them. This is the only thing that gives either of them hope. They are carrying the fire. The fire I take to be the last shreds of humanity and civilization. The boy at one point even asks someone else if he is carrying the fire and this man also says yes. It’s sad to see a film that displays an end to people as we know it. Sure the cannibals in the movie would continue on until they ate each other out of existence, but the good people would eventually succumb to the elements or to the cannibals. All of them are fighting a losing battle.

Generally, we want to see movies with a happy ending. We want to see our main characters survive. We want things to be neatly packaged. I have a great example of this. Lost. People were so drawn into the show. I watched it all six years. People loved the craziness of it. People loved all the questions. People loved what answers they did get. They were disappointed during the series finale though. They didn’t want their beloved main characters to die. They didn’t want unanswered questions, but those things are what often reflects real life. Real life is never wrapped up in paper and tied with a pretty bow. Real life is gritty. Sometimes the person you’re rooting for does die. Sometimes you don’t get all your questions answered.

I will definitely read more Cormac McCarthy books after reading The Road. It’s a real gift to be able to stretch your imagination to the lengths Cormac was able to. I also have to applaud the director of the movie. It’s also a gift to get over yourself enough to reproduce what the book actually held. Out of all the movies I have ever seen based off of books, I really do think this one stuck truest to the book. The only movies that could beat this out are the little movies made for kids where the entire book is actually read word for word in the movie and illustrated in the same illustration style as the book.

If you haven’t watched this and you want to, I would suggest reading the book first. I know it’s not going to be much different, but it will give you a little more insight into this strange world.


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6 thoughts on “The Road Book vs. Movie

  1. I am doing a comparison project of the movie and the book for an English class, and your review gave me such a deeper insight to the symbolism shown in the movie from the book that I didn’t catch before. You’re a great writer! Thanks!

  2. I remember after reading ‘No Country for Old Men’. I did read somewhere that ‘The Road’ is written a little like a screenplay, so good that they were true to the dialogue. Despite the often bleak outlook I really do enjoy Cormac McCarthy and I’m looking forward to reading The Road’ next.

    • It kind of is written like a screenplay. I think in ways that made it easier to read. There isn’t a ton of extensive thought in the book. I really appreciated that the movie was so true to the dialogue and actions from the book. I will definitely pick up any Cormac McCarthy books I come across in my thrift store adventures.

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