My review of The Road appears today over at JG Cinema, a new international and bilingual online journal on cinema in a global society.
Australian director John Hillcoat's stately Western "The Proposition" (2005) was a stark, mystical story about a civilization's confrontation with its own barely repressed savagery. In mounting an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's austere apocalyptic novel "The Road", Hillcoat is working with a similar theme, and has found an even more suitable narrative context for the earlier film's end-of-a-world tone, eschewing only the dust browns and evening blues of "The Proposition" for the harsh whites, grays, and blacks appropriate to the wintry devastation of McCarthy's vision. Although Hillcoat thus comes well prepared to an adaptation of The Road, his film version nevertheless has the disadvantage of greeting legions of viewers, less familiar with "The Proposition", perhaps, than with McCarthy's novel, who may be suspicious of an attempt to transpose the book's rigorously affecting prose to the cinema. His effort is also coming on the successful heels of 2007's film version of McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men", an Oscar winner and an intimidating benchmark by any measure.
"Cinema's greatness lay in the fact that an individual (a director, a writer, an actor) could in some way touch another individual in the collective anonymity of the auditorium. Which is elitist, to be sure, but it's a popular elitism. It can work for anybody." - Serge Daney
About the Author
Steven Rybin is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the English Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. His areas of interest include film authorship, film and philosophy, film performance, and criticism / cinephilia.