The Road Analysis Essay

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A post-apocalyptic drama The Road directed by John Hillcoat and released in 2009 is an example of a story about the search for humanity. Almost throughout the entirety of the film, the viewers observe a father with his son traveling on the road to nowhere. They travel in search of a safe haven in a post-apocalyptic world. In the setting, someone has completely lost his human appearance, for someone everything human is still not alien. But gradually, in any case, there is a degradation of the personality, like it or not, and in the eternal struggle, it will not work to be ideally good.

Summary and Analysis

The film The Road is just the case when the movie turns out to be no worse than its literary counterpart, the Cormack McCarthy novel of the same name published in 2006. The film is set in dark tones, as conceived by the author of the original work. In fact, in the movie, everything that was in the novel is fully reflected, almost without exception (Bradshaw). One important factor that made the film successful is that it was adapted from recent literary work, making its ideas and moods relevant enough.

In the film, the main characters are the Man and his son, the Boy, played by Viggo Mortensen and Cody Smit-McPhee respectively. Mortensen fits the role of the character, he is a gloomy, quiet hero whose goal is to survive and, above all, not to let the boy die. For Cody Smit-McPhee, this is one of the first roles, but now he is already a young man who, as an actor, is quite successful. The role of the son in this film also suits Smit-McPhee rather well, a scared, thin boy who did not know the times before the apocalypse (Bradshaw). In this way, the characters blend perfectly into the dark and largely hopeless setting. While this is a regular element of any well-written film, in the case of the Road this adds much to the story due to the importance of the immersion effect in the post-apocalyptic setting.

The theme of the post-apocalypse is quite popular, and this is what attracts many viewers to the film The Road. In the film itself, exactly one action took place - the father and son walked, sometimes they ran. The action takes place in a world in which something happened, and the main events are shown to us ten years after the start of the apocalypse. About ten years since the Boy was born just somewhere at the beginning of the crisis (Hillcoat). Using the retrospective technique that returns viewers in time, John Hillcoat adds yet another aspect of immersion. By knowing Man’s backstory, the viewers are able to empathize with him, thus, getting even deeper into the element of despair present in the story.

The population has almost died out, there is no food. There are still scattered small groups in this world that have found a temporary solution to the problem of hunger - they feed on human flesh. That is, the basic values ​​​​of this world are clear, they mostly include food, weapons, and young people. The atmosphere of the film is year-round late autumn, there is no sun at all, destroyed buildings and civilization, dirty overgrown people. A separate conversation about where the father and son went and why, to the sea in search of a good life (Hillcoat). Although the imagery in the film is bleak, it is intentional and motivates viewers to analyze the world they are in and maybe even consider making some effort to prevent such an outcome in the real life.

There are no special effects in this film, they are not here at all, but the general entourage of the post-apocalyptic period is made to the highest standard. This thriller turned out to be very touching, completely filled with drama. It has meaning, a message, and an idea, it is not eventful, it does not have any dynamics, this film is depressing hopelessness, but in its genre, it is very realistic and truthful (Bradshaw). By showing the picture of what the world can become in case if the humanity allows some kind of global catastrophe, both Cormack McCarthy and John Hillcoat drive reader and viewers alike to consider what they can do to prevent such hopelessness.

The film The Road is gloomy, the shooting was done in black and white, which depresses and evokes more sadness and a sense of hopelessness. Father and son played their roles very well, who survive and heroically choose not to give up. And most importantly, to remain good people in conditions of cannibalism, when a man is a wolf to man. I was very pleased with the finale of the film because, despite the loss of his father, the boy finds a second family, and somewhere the light shines through at the end (Bradshaw). The major lesson of the film, thus, is it is important to stay human at least in order to prevent global cataclysms from happening.


The Road is one of the best post-apocalyptic films. It turned out to be very atmospheric, making you aware and delving into the problem. Definitely a philosophical film, surprisingly there are very few dialogues, words, just a minimum. The severity of this film is directly felt, the film is very gloomy, catching melancholy and hopelessness, making it clear how hopeless the situation is.

Works Cited

Bradshaw, Peter. "Film Review: The Road". The Guardian, 2022,

Hillcoat, John. The Road. Dimension Films, 2009.

May 12, 2022




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