“The Road”

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theroad“…this life-giving, tenacious connection between parent and child.”

I found myself, on a rare morning with not much planned, reading that the film version of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” opened today. A big fan of the novel, I attended the first possible showing today at 10:10 a.m. in the company of approximately six senior citizens. The film was not as good as the book — but it was far, far from a failure. Kenneth Turan’s review, which I read today at breakfast, claimed the following: “An honorable, yet unfulfilling, attempt at filming Cormac McCarthy’s unfilmable book.”
To the contrary, the film is very fulfilling. It is the magic and mystery of imaginative literature that it refracts reality and thereby sets in stark relief “truths” about human nature. Great fiction creates stories that are more “real” than real life, as it tells lies to get at truth. Cormac McCarthy paints a post-apocalyptic story that could not be more bleak, but that is only the setting of the story, not the story itself. Much more than destruction, desperation, wastage, cannibalism — the world ending not in a “bang but a whimper” – the story is more about a father and a son and their bond. And, amazingly, by the end this life-giving, tenacious connection between parent and child redeems all the dark.
In my memory, I will remember this story less for the “unfilmable” vicissitudes that take place on “the road” and more for the savage, primal connection of blood to blood – that desire to do anything to protect one’s child. It is more a story of love and connection than of apocalypse and barbarism. It is a very “human” story, set amidst great inhumanity. But it is the inhumanity and “darkness of man’s heart” in the gray and black hue of the story that makes the white standout all the more.
It is brilliant art – perhaps the highest manifestation of our “humanness.” Creatures from other worlds should look to art such as this if they want to learn about this messy, contradictory species called homo sapiens. So horrible and so wonderful at the same time!
To the contrary, Mr. Turan. I found “On the Road” to be very fulfilling.


“An honorable, yet unfulfilling, attempt at filming Cormac McCarthy’s unfilmable book.”