As I’ve been looking over the negative reviews of The Road on the Internet Movie Database, I’ve found a lot of comments that have clarified elements with which I had issues. It’s easier just to quote these.

Spoilers follow after the “Read More”:

The only reason I made it to the end was the hope that something might change, or there might be an enlightening ending. But as in the film, there was no hope.

This film leaves very little to contemplate. […]

And then one must wonder how in such an environment anyone can survive with no oxygen producing plant life, no real food (apart from the occasional stash of canned food and a few insects). These issues make the film less believable, and therefore you have less connection with the characters. But the biggest problem with The Road, is the futility.

This is exactly right. The entire film, I’m thinking, “Everything is dead? How are people still alive?” Maybe the science of it bears out and you would have enough oxygen to survive for 10+ years…but factoring in things like food supply, it feels all wrong.

The main characters have random, unexplained motivations. Charlize Theron walks out “because she has to”, the kid goes chasing down a boy he maybe sees “because he has to”, and characters frequently do things for no apparent reason, with no rational motivation. And Viggo, intent on living, lets Charlize go running off to die why? Uh… because he has to?

[…]

The kid falls over more than a bimbo in a horror flick, and has to be carried more than the luggage does (which looks a lot like Princess Vespa’s luggage from Spaceballs). Despite an abundance of water, everyone’s forgotten how to bathe, groom, or clothe themselves. Why? Meanwhile Viggo goes swimming like it’s a Bond film. The film says it’s gotten so cold out, yet the characters repeatedly expose themselves to hypothermia via swimming. Why again? Does the movie make any sense? Sure, if you’re pretentious and can lie to yourself. Do the characters’ motivations make any sense. No.

Why did they spend years in the cabin rather than go south to begin with? Not explained. Why does Charlize wander off to die? Because. Despite the lack of fuel, there seems to be forests of it standing around – did humans just forget how the steam engine works? Apparently.

If I’m being honest, I also had trouble with the boy. He wasn’t believable to me as a child who had grown up in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The review below takes a stronger stance on this than I would, but we share a similar sentiment.

1. It’s a sad movie. Yes… thats about it. You don’t know how the world got this way, you have no idea why they are heading to the coast and south but what the hell perhaps something will happen during their travels and it might be exciting.

2. There is no other way than saying the 2 main characters are RETARDS. They’re running around with a revolver with 2 bullets but aren’t in any way looking for any other weapon. They’re not making a bow, they’re not finding another weapon. Hell you don’t even see the guy with a knife. And I’d understand this if he was traveling around Europe where guns aren’t exactly common. But he’s traveling in the US, and no offense but there’s more guns than there is people in the US so I’m pretty sure he’d be able to find some more than just a crappy revolver (which he doesn’t even clean, so it’s a miracle it’s still working) and 2 bullets.

3. WHAT THE HELL IS HIS SON DOING?!?!?!?!?!?!?! He’s crying about every little thing they encounter. Whether he takes a dump or just taking a deep breath, there will be a squeal escaping the little annoying bastard’s mouth. If there was any form of realism the little boy would have LONG AGO learned to STFU and be tough. Instead he’s a pathetic little softy that cries whenever he doesn’t get pancakes in the morning. He even mentions at some point that he’s hungry… yes well I’m sorry but the little tard has been hungry probably during the entire duration that he grew up and has been traveling. So nothing special there now is there? He’d long ago would have learned to shut up about it.

The simple truth is that you must be incredibly brainless to even think this in any way represents a glimpse of how 2 people during some apocalypse of the world would be living and looking. Perhaps the most realistic thing about the movie was the clothing.

I watched this movie on PPV last evening as I typically enjoy what/if movies. This movie was not so much as “what if the world ended” but “what if something bad happened and people were left to fend for themselves”. I thought that this is a very disturbing, as well as implausible flick.

{15 years after the catastrophe??? } From an earlier scene where Charlize Theron’s character gave birth to a child and flashbacks to a “Normal” past, to the main time-frame of the movie, it would seem that at least 12-15 years had elapsed since the unimaginable “Castastrophe”.

{ Why no army guys or aborigines running around ?} Being a realist by nature, I would have predicted the survivors to be a post apocalyptic melange of survivalists and / or military folks sprinkled in with those accustomed to live outside of technology (Think tribesman from the Amazon Rainforest, Aborigines from Northern Australia, etc. We only were given glimpses at cannibals and those being pursued / eaten by cannibals. There were NO military or natives running around.

{ How can cannibals survive for more than a couple years? }

I challenge anybody without major food supplies to live more than a few months, even with cannibalism. You gotta think if everybody survived past the point of no food, they would have to start eating somebody to survive.

{ Follow my reasoning here }

* I am thinking the human body requires 2000 calories a day over time. Its probably double this if one is living outside and walking big distances or being chased. * An average adult person including both sexes, average about 150 pounds * Approximately 90 percent of a human’s body is water. * This means that there is about 15 pounds of edible mass per person. * If a pound of flesh yields 3500 calories, a dead person will only yield about 18-24 days worth of food for 1 person. * Doing the math, a single person would need to eat about 15 – 20 people a year to survive.

Did anybody think of this???

Oftentimes, films are hard to watch, but the pay-off at the end more than makes up for it. This was not one of those films. It was hard to watch, and the ending left more to the imagination than French films. Don’t watch it unless you have to.

This movie should have only been 2 minutes long; it should have started and ended with the whole family blowing each other’s brains out. I consider myself a deep thinker and love a good post-apocalyptic movie so I was excited to see this but I was left in awe with the utter bleak pointlessness of this one. There is no real plot or storyline, unlikeable, undeveloped characters and the story left nothing to ponder except: if you were starving and the world was essentially just “over” would you start munching on the other survivors or kill yourself? I would just go ahead and off myself but I can assure you I would not have done it the way Ms. Theron did (wandering in the dark to death.)

How did the world come to be 100% dead of vegetation, wildlife and almost all of humankind in such a short period of time? One might make the argument that this movie is not about the actual science of the apocalypse but rather that it’s about human nature and human relationships, unfortunately there are only two characters in the movie and it’s pretty basic, a father is caring for his crybaby son. I believe the author’s inability to explain the world in which his boring characters live in can be attributed to lack or creativity or laziness. There was no creativity or even anything remotely resembling beauty in this tale. The cannibals were called “the bad guys” and the non-cannibals were the “good guys”, “Hope” was called “the fire”, and the main characters were “papa” and “son.”

I have no idea what it is I just saw. But considering the praise it has gotten, this sure was a big disappointment.

The movie tries to be bleak and depressing but really only succeeds in being dull, plodding and repetitive. And you can add unimaginative and implausible to that list as well. The Biblical references are needlessly tacky and emotionally manipulative to the point of being crass. The character of the boy is, apart from being terribly overacted, appalling and the way he acts is completely out of tune considering the circumstance of an entire life of survival. Another minor complaint is that he looks far too healthy, but that can be forgiven if the movie offers some form of aberration to sink our teeth in. Of course, it never does.

The movie mostly fails, as is so often the case within this genre film, to offer the viewer protagonists we can care about. The father is an obsessive paranoid and the boy a whiny wimp with apparently no survival instinct at all. To add insult to injury, most of dad’s decisions make absolutely no sense and only help to further the alienation of the viewer. Already Half way through the film, I wished for the kid to be slaughtered by one of the cannibals so dad could finally commit suicide.

Why is it so hard to think up some interesting and realistic ideas when exploring the post-apocalyptic Earth? Why do we once again have to suffer through two hours of poor decision making, bleak and boring visuals with, in the end, no resolution? Didn’t we already suffer that enough with Children of Men and 28 days later?

I’m all for independent movie making, but if this is the crap that keeps getting made, I’d rather prefer the overproduced War of the Worlds or I am Legend. At least these films have enough entertainment value that you can see passed the obvious plot holes, contrivances and silliness. They are also better casted. I mean, what the hell was Robert Duvall doing in this movie? That useless bit could just as well have been played by Ed O’Neill..

Sure, the movie *excels* at projecting a barren, desolate, hopeless life of a father and son, but it is a very static and slow movie without much of a story line. It basically consists of two interchanging scenes which repeat multiple times over the course of two hours. On one scene, the father and his boy go around traveling in empty roads and sleeping in deserted cars while having occasional memories from which the father will suddenly wake up from in a jerky and annoying fashion. And on the other scene, they witness psychopath gangs which are out to kill them and other people in a putrid and bloody fashion. These two scenes pretty much interchange and repeat in cycles, but it is done in such way that there is no progress whatsoever.

Rarely, the father and son will encounter another homeless person, and so you get your hopes up that the movie is actually going somewhere, but over and over again, the movie brings your hopes up and lets you down, as the they part ways and nothing is resolved. Then the movie keeps on interchanging the two scenes just like before.

And the negative reviews go on in this vein.