John Hillcoat’s post-apocalyptic thriller throws a nameless man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) onto the road, along which they trudge on, with supplies getting shorter by each passing day. The coast is what they are on the lookout for, where the father hopes it would be warmer.Its indeed a long way to the coast, and while Hillcoat, aided amply by some picturesque, and yet arid cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe, keeps the melancholic strain on, a grave absence of action for extensive stretches, keeps pulling the film back by a mile.
What does strike us as invigorating though is the continual battle between the rights and the wrongs that leaves the boy confused, to the point when he starts questioning his dad, if they are ‘still the good ones’. Those discussions on morality are at times fleeting and at others grave, and virtue does eventually shine through, across the murky waste lands that once held life, and that too, plenty of it.
I especially loved the final scenes of the film, that brings in elements of fantasy into an otherwise barren narrative, and while it should remain open to diverse interpretations, the positivity should run commonly through. The images are blisteringly bleak without doubt, but this moody, maudlin meander of a journey has little profits on offer at the end of it all.
Verdict: Mixed Bag