Saturday, June 5, 2010
Don't go into this movie expecting your average Hollywood end-of-the-world story. There are no hordes of CGI monsters. No wild car chases through abandoned streets. And no Will Smith making sarcastic wise-cracks. It's just normal human beings battling starvation and disease. Indeed, the most terrifying moments of the film involve acts of unspeakable depravity committed by regular people. Cannibalism has run rampant. Violence is an everyday occurrence. So much so that the characters never appear to be truly safe. With each abandoned shelter, each deserted highway, there's a sense of danger lurking just around the corner. Director John Hillcoat helps build this atmosphere of despair by filling his palate with tones of gray and black. Billowing clouds of smoke envelope the sun. Trees are plastered with soot and grime. Let's just say it's not exactly spring break in Cancun.
Yet for all the gloom and doom, the heart of the story is truly uplifting. A story about father and son depending on one another in times of need. On one hand, the father protects and cares for his son. In turn, the son gives his father hope, gives him a reason to go on. Every interaction between the two is believable and enjoyable thanks to inspired performances by Viggo and Kodi. Both actors give raw, authentic portrayals that really bear the hearts and minds of their characters. In the end, the film is both a depressing study of human nature pushed to the limit and a heartwarming testament to the unwavering bond between father and son. Not to mention a film I highly recommend.