Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Savagery is Just Around The Bend

I was fortunate to see the cinematic version (cinematic - that other word for "movie" ;-) of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning novel THE ROAD this week. Had my brother Chris over and our bookstore shipper Gene stayed for the event. I'm a big fan of keeping myself focused when we watch a "new" film, no talking, etc. It's okay if there's a comment here and there, as long as it's during down times and it's not disrupting the experience of the story. For this showing we were glued to the screen with noticeable tension from the body language in the room. From every-body. Not a lot you'd want to say during this film. For the most part you're just trying to take it all in, and for me, at times, it was imagining what would this be like if it really happened to us. And I mean me and my family. That's just how personal it felt at times. Because that's the thing you see: savagery is just around the corner. We all take it for granted the good life we have in this world. At least here in the US, if you work you can have a good life. You don't have to be rich to enjoy your life (although a few more bucks here and there sure would help :-), but if you work, you can own a home, buy a car, raise a family (might have to have mom and dad working these days), etc. To have the right to be able to do those things is an amazing thing. There a many places in the world where survival is a daily event, forget about the long-term, they're just trying to live day-to-day. All we have to do is get our paycheck, go down to the grocery store and pick up the milk, eggs, and all the other things we desire. If you think about it, t takes a lot of people and operations to get those things into our home. It's hard not to take these things for granted, it's just part of our way of life.

Now imagine your world, as in THE ROAD, is gone, and money, electricity, plumbing... that's all gone. Due to the wars, or whatever caused this apocalyptic event, the weather is colder and the sky seems to be a permanent gray. Growing crops doesn't seem to be much of an option, and people are disappearing. No food, no hospitals, no infrastructure. Damn, what a horrible place to live and actor Viggo Mortenson, in the title role, along with his son (played effectively by Kodi Smit-McPhee) show us just what a struggle it is. Trying to stay clear of the cannibalistic marauders, who rove in packs, or hole up in mansions with their own version of a "fridge" to hold their "meat" is very disturbing. The son asks several times during their moving around, "we're the good guys, right?" He was born after the "event" so he has no real idea of the world his father left behind. The scene with an un-opened can of Coke, discovered hidden away, that the son got to enjoy was a simple and very poignant moment.

Hard to imagine, but this story is very close to home. Not that we live it, but someday, we could. Savagery is just around the corner. I say we leave it on that corner and walk the other way. The alternative is just to horrible to imagine. The movie is good, but one viewing will hold me a lifetime.


  1. Yo Dave,

    Well said and nice post on a seriously somber film. It's worth a second viewing with the director's commentary...he adds a lot of information on his visual inspirations and some good vignettes about Cormac McCarthy's visits to the set.

    As Viggo's character , "The Man", said, "Keep carrying the fire"...


  2. Hey Trey, at some point I will probably watch it again and thanks for the heads up on the director's commentary. Best, Dave