Screen Daily‘s Fionnuala Halligan (“[The] hopelessness will make The Road hard going for general audiences”), The Times Online‘s Wendy Ide (“Hillcoat’s vision is forthright and brutal”), and In Contention‘s Kris Tapley (“a bleak residue of style in the shadow of potential substance”) were yes/no/mixed on the Weinstein Co. release, contrasting with yesterday’s flat-out pan by Variety‘s Todd McCarthy.
Ide again: “Two elements let the film down. First is a voiceover from Mortensen, which is a little heavy on the explication for my tastes. Second, and more serious, is the labored score (co-written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis). We know that it’s sad that the last children on Earth are starving and scared. We don’t need a musical signpost to tell us so. It would have been better to have no music at all, and let the story play out to the accompaniment of the groans of the dying planet.”
Oh, right…the review by the Hollywood Reporter‘s Deborah Young. Except it’s much more of a stand-offish description of the film than a review of it. Hillcoat does “an admirable job of bringing Cormac McCarthy‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to the screen as an intact and haunting tale,” she says, “even at the cost of sacrificing color, big scenes and standard Hollywood imagery of post-apocalyptic America. Shot through with a bleak intensity and pessimism that offers little hope for a better tomorrow, the film is more suitable to critical appreciation than to attracting huge audiences.”