Hi everyone! Today I'm over at Cassandra Jade in the Realm talking about writing. She asked aspiring and published writers to explain what writing is to them. I said, "Writing is ... doing horrible things to the people you love." See the rest of the post here. And let me know what you think!
Last night I saw The Road. I don't think I've ever seen a film that stayed more faithful to the book it is based on. There was just enough interpretation to take advantage of being a visual medium, such as epic, rusting panoramas and the colours and textures that a book can't offer. There's a beautiful scene when the man returns to his childhood home. It's mouldering and falling apart, but he turns over a couch cushion and finds it just as vivid and beautiful as it always was. And then he sits on the couch, with a look on his face like he's wondering if it was all a dream.
Viggo Mortensen was perfect. He was just the right combination of tenderness, desperation and paranoia. I pictured the boy to be a few years younger than the actor Kodi Smit-McPhee, but it would have been a tough part to play for a younger boy. I saw this film with a friend who hadn't read the book and there was eye-rolling at the scene with the can of coke. It came off as terrible product placement in the film, unfortunately. I explained that in the book, that can of coke tells the reader several things: that this boy was born post-apocalypse and how long approximately it has been since the world fell apart. Because you're told this explicitly by Mortensen's narration at the beginning of the film (I loathe narration in films, it's as subtle as a sledgehammer and corny as hell) the scene is redundant and unfortunately comes off looking like advertising.
The director John Hillcoat and Nick Cave have worked together on previous films, none of which I have seen. I love Nick Cave's haunting and beautiful music, so who better to write the score for this film? ("Into My Arms" will reduce you to tears, and "Loverman" is one of the most disturbingly sexy songs around.) Unfortunately, the score was shocking. Corny, intrusive and infantile, the music blundered over scenes that would have been better off silent. The piano became a symbol of the man's dead wife and these stickily sentimental compositions popped up every other scene. There was one playing as the credits rolled and I turned to my friend and said, "OMG, we have to get out of here!" It was really that bad. Nick Cave, what the hell??
Music aside, this was an amazing film. The Road is a difficult book both in its language and bleakness, but Hillcoat has made it palatable for a mass audience without compromising Cormac McCarthy's vision.
A longer review for this film comparing it to the book will shortly be up on X&Y Magazine.