The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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'The Road's' Oscar chances take a big dive

The Road Having just read Variety critic Todd McCarthy's brutal takedown of "The Road" today, I'm guessing that Oscar watchers everywhere are checking this movie off their prime best picture contender list. The long-delayed movie, adapted from Cormac McCarthey's 2006 bestseller, was supposed to be the Weinstein Co.'s top Oscar candidate this year (along with "Nine," its Rob Marshall-directed musical). But it's hard to imagine a prestige film, which is poised to make its debut at a string of upcoming fall film festivals, getting a worse review so early in awards season.

McCarthy doesn't beat around the bush. He begins his review by saying: "This 'Road' leads nowhere,'' going on to say that the movie "falls dispiritingly short on every front, showing clear signs of being test-screened and futzed with to death." The film is set in a post-apocalyptic rural America, with a father and son wandering the barren landscape, fending off many unfriendly marauders. But according to McCarthy, the film's director, John Hillcoat, "just hopscotches from scene to scene in almost random fashion without any sense of pacing or dramatic modulation." As for Viggo Mortensen, who plays the lead role, McCarthy says he "lacks the gravitas to carry the picture; suddenly resembling Gabby Hayes with his whiskers and wayward hair."

Despite the wonderful treatment McCarthy got from the Coen brothers with "No Country for OId Men," it sounds like lightning is not poised to strike twice.


Image: From "The Road." Credit: Macall Polay / Dimension Films

 
Comments () | Archives (23)

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I just don't understand why a newspaper covers the review of one trade critic, whose opinion was the polar opposite of the other 4 reviewers of the same movie.

I screened THE ROAD at the Toronto Film Festival and found it to be a very compelling film. It is a very good quality film that is very intense and stays with you long after the film is finished. It was extremely well acted all around and I would not be surprised if Viggo and the boy Kodi get nominated for an Oscar. Further I would not be surprised if it received a screen adaptation nomination. Everyone I spoke to about this film (and I surveyed a lot) all said that same thing I did, it's a very good movie but very intense, and heavy. I completely disagree with the Variety review, and am much more in line with the Screen Daily review. One thing that bothers me though is why the LA times does not have it's own correspondent write a review instead of reporting on another publication's review.

I've read the book and seen the film and this is one time that I personally thought the film was better than the book. I do however think there were more scenes from the book that I wish were in the movie but they played the movie out more or less flawlessly true. The movie is exceptional and I completely disagree with McCarthy.

 
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