Freeview film of the day: The Road

Viggo Mortensen fights for survival in a bleak but brilliant adaptation

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The Road ★★★★ 
10.00-12.15am ITV4 

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The most dour and depressing major motion picture of recent years, post-apocalyptic trudge The Road is at least as grim and hopeless as Cormac McCarthy’s source novel. I loved it, but don’t break out the chocolates and red wine tonight. Adapted with admirable fidelity to the repetitive text by Joe Penhall and directed with a colour palette that ranges from brown to grey by John Hillcoat (The Proposition), it follows Viggo Mortensen and his young son Kodi Smit-McPhee as they scrape and scavenge their way towards the fabled warmth of the coast after an unexplained Bad Thing has wiped out most of America’s population (including mum Charlize Theron, seen in a heart-stopping flashback). This is a journey both physical and metaphysical that asks difficult questions about survival in the face of a broken world, but ekes fragments of hope from beneath the constant threat of starvation and cannibalistic attack in the profound bond between parent and child. It might never happen, of course.


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