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Quint chats with THE ROAD director John Hillcoat about adapting Cormac McCarthy, cannibals and more!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with my half-hour chat with the director of THE ROAD, one Mr. John Hillcoat. I got a chance to speak with both him and the star of the movie, Viggo Mortensen, while attending the incredibly fun Telluride Film Festival. If you missed my initial review of THE ROAD you can catch up by clicking here, but the short version is that I really dug it. It’s a different experience than the book, but I don’t think it lacked any of the emotional punch of the book. I loved the detail of the world and all the performances. When I met Hillcoat I told him how much I enjoyed an earlier film of his called THE PROPOSITION and we talked a bit about the Telluride Film Festival. One of the good things about this fest is that the filmmakers are free to see some films. It’s not all just junkets and stress. The filmmakers get to intermingle with the average fest goers. I was told the beautiful and totally crush-worthy Carey Mulligan went to see his movie at the fest and that’s where we begin, with Hillcoat trying to decide what films he can see in his short time at the festival. A bit of warning for those not familiar with Cormac McCarthy’s book… we discuss some key points about the journey this father and son duo undertake and at the very end of the interview we discuss the last few moments in the film. So, spoiler alert. I’ll make sure to run a spoiler warning before we talk about the finale, but here’s your first warning. Enjoy the chat!!

John Hillcoat: I just don’t get to see the films, but I try. I’ve got my shot at it later on.

Quint: You’ve got one slot and you are trying to figure out what to see?

John Hillcoat: Maybe two, but we will see…

Quint: BAD LIEUTENANT is super fun, but it’s going to have a bigger or biggish release. AN EDUCATION is very much more of a film festival movie and it’s more emotional I would say and you probably owe Carey [Mulligan] since she went to see your movie, so…

John Hillcoat: Yeah. (laughs) I was going to try to catch it in Toronto, but I’ll see what I can do.

Quint: I just came from your movie, I saw it this morning and yeah…

John Hillcoat: This morning? Wow, now that’s interesting morning viewing. (laugh)

Quint: And I’m a big fan of the book, too. I found them to be two, not completely different experiences, but there is something in how Cormac McCarthy writes that’s such a pure literary experience, but I thought you did a very good job of making the visual version of that. I have to expect that whenever you signed on to do this, that that was probably the giant scare factor for you.

John Hillcoat: Absolutely, because I love his writing so much and it is so beautiful and poetic and how do you translate that? BLOOD MERIDIAN was quite an influence on THE PROPOSITION, but I was most concerned, actually, about the boy, because that was the wild card, because they are in every scene together. I got it when it was unpublished as this great gift that landed in my lap and it totally had a huge profound impact on me and my life, but then it just grew and grew every time… This is before the Coen brother’s films and before the Pulitzer prize and Best Seller in The New York Times, before Oprah and all of that, so all of that created a huge responsibility and pressure, but I try not to think about that. Ever. (laughs)

Quint: So you were on from the very beginning then?

John Hillcoat: Yeah, yeah. The producer that got me the book, Nick Wechsler loved THE PROPOSTION and he saw that that was another extreme world that had characters under pressure and the environment and the landscape were a major part of that. And in this case, instead of distance past, this is near future, although the references for this were all picked up… In some ways the book of THE ROAD is so beautifully simple and the realism of it, just makes so much sense, because with there being so many mini-apocalypses under our noses and just that simple thing of “of course a shopping cart” and the way the homeless sleeping rough, of course that’s where you would be when things break down, so it’s those sort of links that he made that are just so simple and kind of obvious in retrospect, like also this shock of not really knowing what actually happened, but again when you think about it, that made so much sense and it made it so immediate and also pulled you into the father and son relationship, which is the heart of it and the key.

Quint: Absolutely.

John Hillcoat: So yeah, that was a daunting task, the whole thing on every level; top to bottom. We are talking about technical, emotional…

Quint: Casting…

John Hillcoat: Everything.

Quint: I think one of the things that grabbed me the most about the book was the way that McCarthy wrote it was almost hypnotic, if you know what I mean, like it had a certain rhythm to the conversations and a certain rhythm to the scenarios. Was that something you tried to pick up on and try to incorporate?

John Hillcoat: Yeah, and their dialogue in the film, we really just boiled down… Joe Penhall’s whole take was not to get complicated with it, it’s all on the page, so just edit it down and distill it down for a hundred minute film. But the repetition in the book, that kind of grind day in and day out, I think is very much something that is more novelistic. The actual script had much more of that routine of going in and out of places and the constant fear and all of that.

Quint: There’s also that constant struggle with the man trying to pull the boy out of his shell a little bit with engaging in conversation like in the beginning of the book where he pretty much asks the question and just gets “Okay…” in response.

John Hillcoat: What we found was when you physicalize it and make it concrete and you are witnessing that story, repetition suddenly becomes harder and harder to take in the way that you can take it in the book, but not in film. So what we tried to do then is distill that down, so that the emotionally etched scene had a subtle development in their relationship, so it kept growing and the cannibal world wasn’t… You know, once you really got to know it and it did its thing, it didn’t overwhelm it, because the emotional story was the key, so it was a constant battle in that sense of balance.

Quint: I think you did a really good job in keeping the cannibal angle scary throughout the whole film, where it’s not like you are inundated with it and then you are used to it by a certain point. I think the most striking point for me is after The Man shoots the wanderer that tries to take The Boy and then they return later to pick up the cart and see the remains. The guy was literally treated like a deer by his group, his entrails are out there and his head is just kind of thrown off and they ate what they could eat. There’s just something really striking about that. It could have gone really exploitation is what I was thinking.

John Hillcoat: Yeah and heavy-handed. We did try and I was very like Cormac in the way he treats these subjects, very matter of fact and unflinching, but not sensationalistic about it and it was also trying to have a bit of restraint, because I think with all of this sort of material in cinema especially we have all of the tricks and tools and it’s so seductive. You can get so carried away and again it always came back to the relationship, because it’s fundamentally a love story, over and above anything else, and it’s very personal to McCarthy. (We had) his son on set and it was just amazing, because the boy called him “Poppa” just like from the book. I think that’s also why the book struck such a deep chord and has such a fanatical sort of fan base, that emotional story is something… we can all relate to that loss and it’s also every parent’s worst fear, but most and above all is what under extreme circumstances, it brings out the best and worst in people. Cormac himself said, “Look, this is a book about human goodness” and that had to be kept alive, you know? Protecting that fire, so it wasn’t going to be snuffed out and in that way it’s meant to be almost like a wake up call for us, because we recently, since the Bush-era everything in the entire world has gone into fear mode. Everything is reacting to fear. The most recent example is the economy, that’s all about fear and that becomes such a negative and this, in a way, you can just see this as a parable of exactly what is happening now in that sense and how fear can shut out possibilities that can actually save us.

Quint: It’s so funny how everybody describes the book and the film as well as this bleak tale, but… Somebody even at the Q & A with Viggo was like “I liked it, but are you going to do something that has hope in it?” He was like “I think this movie is full of hope.” You watched that story and that’s what it’s all about. Viggo’s character could have, without the boy, he probably would have gone over to that side, you know what I mean?

John Hillcoat: Absolutely. The boy was his teacher and moral compass.

Quint: Especially by the end of the movie.

John Hillcoat: He had learned more from him and he takes that step that every new generation needs to take for the sake of mankind, without being too melodramatic, but it really comes to that.

Quint: Honestly, the hope of finding other people that will carry the fire, if he did find one family that still has the same moral belief system, that not everybody is a crazed murderer or almost feral… The tale is all about hope to me.

John Hillcoat: Absolutely.

Quint: You have to contrast it with the horrors of the situation obviously. Without that, it doesn’t mean as much.

John Hillcoat: We have sort of made it a bit more of the flashback thing as a reminder of that as well just to remind us of what we stand to lose and what we do take for granted that we haven’t. Hopefully that will strike a chord as well.

Quint: The first shot of the movie is green plants and sunlight. Was that just to cement the audience going “This world isn’t some abstract thing. This is something that could happen and we could have this.”

John Hillcoat: That’s right and that’s what we stand to lose and that also doesn’t work in these festival environments, but the end roller basically goes back to the sound, like the music dies away and the sound is just everyday life carrying on to make it go full circle. I hope that gets through, because I get a bit frustrated by… I mean, even THE PROPOSITION, which has lots of light and dark, lots of shades, it frustrates me how reductive people are and closed people are to just being a bit challenged. I think Cormac has an unbelievable unflinching look at the way people really are, which I think is really refreshing, even in the actions of the darker qualities, but also in this case he tackles, which he’s never done before, real love. Also, with fathers and sons in cinema, if you look back there are few exceptions, like THE BICYCLE THIEVES, which was a reference for me, but mostly they are tyrannical fathers or they are absent fathers, so I think it’s really refreshing to see a genuine tenderness and a genuine love between a father and son.

Quint: In most other stories or anything, it would have been the mother having protective instinct and the father being the one who cracks.

John Hillcoat: I think it breaks that taboo and it breaks the general accepted things o on one hand the father and son thing is refreshing, but on the other hand yeah there is that shock that under extreme pressure you know the maternal instinct can fall into trouble. It does happen…

Quint: Let’s talk a little bit about the construction of the world, because originally the movie… I was talking to Liz (the publicist) and she was say that the movie, when it was scheduled to come out that end of last year, it was pushed because the effects needed more time to be realized.

John Hillcoat: It was more than that. It was also… The actual release schedule for last year, I always complained about it as unrealistic, because also what happened were things like the locations… We shot in fifty different locations and in several different states and at the end of May, we had hoped to finish shooting and we found out that Mount St. Helens was twenty feet under snow still, so we had to wait until into July and so all of that was new material that we had to incorporate into the film and there was the visual effects and there as also this delicate balance between… as we were saying earlier, we had a lot of material. We had over four hours of stuff.

Quint: You had a four hour assembly cut?

John Hillcoat: Four and a half actually. We had to boil that down. There were a number of things that made that release schedule impossible and then once we crossed over that into the next year, everyone knew that this sort of a film needed a fall release.

Quint: This has been done for a couple of months now, right?

John Hillcoat: Yeah, and also at the beginning of the year… There’s several hiatus periods, where everything shut down, so yeah although it was frustrating, it would have been great to hit that deadline, but it was unrealistic.

Quint: Yeah, but after you miss it… It was ready in June. Is that right?

John Hillcoat: Yeah.

Quint: This movie wouldn’t work as a summer movie. It doesn’t make any sense, but as a fan of the material, I’m sure you can understand why there were a bunch of people who were taking those as warning signs and going “Oh my God, what are they doing to the book?” You get that knee-jerk reaction.

John Hillcoat: Oh yeah, I understand. That was very unfortunate and we had a fantastic momentum last year and it was disappointing and frustrating and in a way I guess, it’s just that thing where often… The film business always works that way where you want to hit these goals and things keep sliding and in hindsight it would have been much better to say right from the get go “It’s 2009” and leave it at that.

Quint: Ultimately the movie is going to speak for itself.

John Hillcoat: I’m hoping now that it’s starting to get shown, the word of mouth will get out there to reassure those fears that people have which I understand. I totally understand it and if I wasn’t in the center of it I would be thinking the same things, especially with certain elements like the Weinsteins. They are the distributors, not the producers, so there’s that and we are all ultimately trying to be as faithful to the book as possible.

Quint: I don’t think anybody can argue that you didn’t capture the world of the book. It’s certainly what I had in my mind, the same color palette and everything that I envisioned when I was reading it… the constant grey and blacks and how everybody is so filthy throughout the whole movie….

John Hillcoat: Except when they get to the bunker with that cleansing, the relief of washing all of that stuff off.

Quint: I had the same feelings as I did in the book, when the father is like “No, let’s go. This isn’t safe.” I’m like “Yes, it’s safe! Stay! You have found your place!”

John Hillcoat: Yeah. Also the performances I am just thrilled with and they are so critical, because they are so exposed as well. A road movie with a father and son in every scene is very… everything is out there. Then each character that you come across is so vital, because if one of them isn’t quite right, then the whole thing kind of falls over.

Quint: I thought Robert Duvall was amazing.

John Hillcoat: Transcendental. He was brilliant. He did something miraculous, which was that scene in the book and the script was quite a philosophical conversation. Again when you physicalize these things and you are seeing it in the situation and trying to believe it as real people that you are seeing, there’s something that felt a little bit contrived and pretentious or literary about it. I actually asked him if he could just try to use the same material, but personalize it in some way and all of that he came up with like with having his own son and losing him and not wanting to talk about it and all of that, he just ran with that in one take.

Quint: I noticed you had a different filmmaking style for that scene. I might be talking out my ass, but that scene, it seemed like you were closer with the camera. You went closer to Robert and you went closer to Viggo and it became more about their faces.

John Hillcoat: Well, there’s something iconic about it and also incredibly human, because there are three generations, and it is the first kind of interaction that they have in a meaningful way with someone for the first time in the whole film. So it was a key scene and I think it also is the turning point where the boy has made this connection and the man is too standoff-ish and afraid to really let that develop. He kills the potential of it and hence they have that first little disagreement and then of course the next encounter it goes a step further with the thief. Michael K. Williams I think is amazing as well…

Quint: He was awesome in that scene.

John Hillcoat: Then of course it goes even further with the arrow thing, which was more about those people that are so paranoid of each other that this is the absurd degree that they… in another world they could be really supporting each other… That Duvall scene was very key, hence that was why we went in in that way. Also another key moment that was really tricky I thought was the veteran, but Guy (Pearce) again was great, because when he first comes where you are thinking “Oh no.”


Quint: It’s still fairly ambiguous, it was to me until I saw the family.

John Hillcoat: Yeah.

Quint: I think that’s exactly how it should be.

John Hillcoat: Yeah, you knew then he wasn’t lying about his own kids and also I think the key with that family is they couldn’t be just this dream family, they have to be a credible family that survived all of these things, like the boy and the father.

Quint: At that point it’s kind of interesting with the man gone, it’s almost like the audience feels or at least I did, almost felt like “I’m the one looking over the kid now,” and I’m almost in that distrustful position as well, but the fact that there had been, throughout their whole journey, there had been pieces of those guys following, whether its hearing the dog or seeing the boy or whatever and not knowing if it was a vision. You just kind of know that they were there and if they meant harm, they could have…

John Hillcoat: And obviously other people had the same idea, which was head south to the coast, there’s other like-minded people, hence that’s what’s so critical about not letting fear take over your life, which I think is the single biggest danger we all face.

With that he had to run off to do the post-film Q&A at the final screening of THE ROAD at Telluride. Hope you guys enjoyed the chat! I’ll make sure to get the Viggo interview up soon! Keep an eye peeled! -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 21, 2009, 5:52 a.m. CST


    by BigJ

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 5:57 a.m. CST

    by Anything But Tangerines


  • Oct. 21, 2009, 6:32 a.m. CST

    Look forward to seeing this...

    by surfsup22

    and I'm second.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 6:49 a.m. CST

    This movie looks cool

    by ominus

    definitely in must see list

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:04 a.m. CST

    Great Interview...

    by Jam Banjo

    Great book, Hopefully a great film. Can't wait. The book is completely about hope, when it is most needed and when all seems lost. Those sorts of questions are why I hate Q&As. Embarrassing.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:09 a.m. CST


    by entrainer

    Damn... I thought it said Cannabis and read the article.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:28 a.m. CST

    The movie sees what I saw *spoilers*

    by tangcameo

    The constant greys. The only colours from the clothes and the remnants of civilization on a nearly dead world. The only difference is that they probably had to deal with a censor board when it came to the people of all ages used as food or food producers, while my imagination unfortunately didn't have a censor board.....Omar! Omar comin'! Omar!

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:30 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:48 a.m. CST

    McCarthy's writing...

    by The Mothman a great example of love it/hate it. I thought Blood Meridian was a great read, but if someone took the opposite stance and called it a long, highly affected monument to pretentiousness, I wouldn't blame them. Same with NCFOM...loose ends (probably intentional) galore, but somehow the overall experience is worth it. Adaptation wise, it'll be nice if The Road and BM work out, because imho NCFOM was pretty damn forced. Tommy Lee Jones' work on Three Burials had the better tone. Also, Duvall must be pretty damn good to be 'transcendental' in a scene that's going to last how long again?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Survival does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Hmm - not sure about the 'cannibal rapist' hypothesis. There have been many, many disasters through mankind's history. Earthquakes, floods, droughts, wars, etc. I expect survivors of these things do some fairly desperate stuff just to live another day but I don't recall ever hearing about starving ethiopians eating their own babies, flooded phillipino farmers murdering one another, or blitzed out Brits losing all sense of community in their ruined city. Sometimes it seems quite the contrary is true, no?<p> Granted, when the population has such open access to firearms, as we saw in New Orleans then that can escalate bad things. But I like to believe that people can come together in a crisis - ultimately survival in a group is surely easier than survival solo?<p> ps. If i'm wrong about this then I call first orders on eating Salma Hayek.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:16 a.m. CST

    DAMN, Cobra.....Selma Hayek. I can't believe I...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I didn't think of her yesterday. I knew I was missing the most obvious and important answer.<P> I'm going to be kicking myself long after you finish the last leftovers. Damn.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:28 a.m. CST



    Sad News. Joseph Wiseman, who played Dr. No opposite Sean Connery in the first big screen JAMES BOND outing has passed away at age 91.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:34 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Flickapoo, i'm partial to breast meat myself. You're very welcome to some rump tho. Plenty for everyone.<p> Maybe we should chow down tapas style with some salsa and a squeeze of lime?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:38 a.m. CST

    ...and Cobra, regarding survival...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I got the impression that the complete lack of food is what drove some survivors to turn to cannibalism. They aren't just hungry...there is NO food other than canned food. And there never will be any food ever again. They can't just pull together as in The Blitz. Well, that and they're bad guys. Bad guys do crazy evil shit sometimes on account of being bad.<P>As for myself, not only am I noble and virtuous, but I have always suffered from a healthy dose of existential depression and whatsthepointitis. I'm pretty sure I don't love life enough to be even tempted by Selma burgers. <P>Having a kid now throws in a whole new variable though...

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:41 a.m. CST

    ...that's very generous, but with Ms. Hayek...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...if I can't have the breast, well, I think I'll just kill myself now and end the pain.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:44 a.m. CST

    FlickaPoo and Cobra best start learning to be chubby chasers

    by THEoverfiend

    i am all aboard your guys' thought train as to your culinary choices so we can start taggin' and baggin' ASAFP . but i do have to say unless we move fast (both figuratively and literally) the truth is the lean ones will go quick. by all accounts you would think some of the lazier heftier ones could be a bit like veal?....i've put too much thought into this haven't i??

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Food does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    This is where I admit I haven't read the book, but NO food whatsoever?<p> I know it's just a story but how can that be? No veg? no berries? no nuts? no roots? no mushrooms? no fish? no animals? no birds? no insects? no rodents? NO FUCKING RATS???<p> Rats are the most resilient motherfuckers on this planet? What possible scenario could exist where big clunky human beings have survived but fucking rats havent? Come on? That's some serious bullshit.<p> Plus, if you've seen Ray Mears the survival guy you'll know that there are ALL sorts of strange shit you can eat if you really have to.<p> I think Cormac McArthy just came up with some outlandish scenario because he wanted us to muse on which celebrity would taste the best. Damn you Cormac! YOUR EVIL PLAN WORKED!!

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:06 a.m. CST don't quite know, just like you don't know what...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...exactly happened to end civilization. The sky is dark and gray to the point of constant plants. Nothing grows. You get the impression that all the significant animals were eaten long ago and that the only reason people are still alive is because of canned goods and goods in the can (hehe).<P>The father and the boy are struggling to make it to the sea, so I was left wondering if maybe some fish are left, but the lack of explanation is one of the strengths of the book. You only know what they know.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:09 a.m. CST

    ...forgetting Selma was tragic, but I can live with my...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...decisions in yesterday's ROAD talkback.<P> I'm slowly reconciling myself to this new grim reality.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:11 a.m. CST

    ...oh, and good interview. Hillcoat gets it.

    by FlickaPoo

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Again, George Bush

    by Guy Gaduois

    doesn't care about potentially cannibalistic post apocalyptic people. <p> I like how people do the most evil, treacherous shit you've ever heard of over on "the dark continent", but the root of fear in the entire world is left at the feet of an halfwit former baseball owner who somehow managed to get elected TWICE and superinflate the gov't. Somehow, we've got it both ways, he's "Evil-dumb" in the words of Fred Sanford and while being an imbecile, also managed to set the entire world on a course of fear. <p> Cormac McCarthy's stories are brilliant, but each and every one makes me want to go to bed without dessert. Ebert once said there's no such thing as a depressing movie or book. He was and is wrong. CM's books are heavy-ass things that make this dumb middle aged man kinda want to just sit under a tree and wait for death. Don't worry, it's coming. <p> I don't like impossibly contrived stories where it's all about the "no win" but keep on anyway. But I'm old and prone to grouchy. Shut up, me.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Finding Nemo and The Road

    by MaoMao

    Both feature baby eating, affectionate father/son relationships, and a long journey with little hope of finding what they are looking for. I even think on the commentary for Nemo talked about the cliche of the protective mother but absent father.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:22 a.m. CST

    "Bush set the world on a path of fear..."

    by None_So_Blind

    Give me a fucking break. This moron apparently has no sense of history whatsoever. How about the fear of Cold War and thinking you'd be nuked out of the blue? How about the fear of Nazi domination of the planet? How about the fear of WWI never ending? And that's just this century. If you think fear is bad now, you have my sympathies for your horrific education.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST


    by Sgt.Steiner

    Guy's comments may be hyperbolic. but it was still pretty scary to have the nation run by that potatohead. Though Sarah "the earth is 3,000 years old" Palin would be the harbinger of a great stupid apocalypse.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Great interview, Quint!

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Any word on when the publicity campaign for this is supposed to swing into effect?<P>The official website is up and running, too. There is some great insight on the production as well as some interesting thoughts by Viggo on the story and the acting chops of Kodi McPhee. Pretty cool stuff.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Anyone read A PRAYER FOR THE DYING by...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...Stewart O'Nan? Great book. <P>Small town American in the 1800's...cholera outbreak...quarantine...a good man tries to keep his sanity while the world goes apeshit.<P> All good things.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Loved The Proposition

    by Aquatarkusman

    Danny Huston deserved like seven Oscars for that part.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Saw it premiere at TIFF, Kid not a great actor

    by Chokey

    Outstanding, heartbreaking film, Viggo is the best hobo ever, but the kid and Viggo really screwed up the death scene. Totally lost my connection to the film right there. And as I looked down the aisle one of the Weinsteins was sitting there looking mighty uncomfortable.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:15 p.m. CST

    whipping scene in Proposition was..

    by THEoverfiend

    pretty goddamn gnarly. when dude wrings all that blood out onto the dirt was just a rippin' shot. i got a thing about flies and that whole scene gave me heebie-fuckin'-jeebies

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:16 p.m. CST


    by Osiris3657

    Should have asked if Cormac McCarthy had seen a cut yet

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Whay are there no guns?

    by fitzcarraldo2

    It struck me as absurd on reading the book that this guy had power because he had some little handgun and everyone else was unarmed. It's clearly North America so it should be awash with guns. And the "unspecified" disaster is clearly nuclear war. The main character sees distant flashes in the sky and starts filling the bath. What else could it be but nuclear war, nuclear winter and a constant fall of ash?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:12 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    I suppose it is a question worth pondering. Yet when you consider that the "event" is already several years in the past at the time of the story, items such as ammunition were probably amongst the first things to be hoarded when the shit hit the fan.<P>The unspecified disaster is interesting because it makes you wonder if the cause would really matter in the course of the aftermath. A nuclear disaster is certainly at the top of my list. However, McCarthy hinted in a print interview that it was probably more of a meteor/comet event. A "world-killer" if you will.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:36 p.m. CST

    What really happened to the world in The Road...

    by ebonic_plague

    The year was 1994, from out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction! Man's civilization is cast in ruin. Years later, Earth is not reborn... A world of savagery, basic science, and shopping carts! But one man bursts his bonds to walk for a vague notion of hope! With his companion, his young son, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous half-empty revolver against the forces of evil. He is Viggo, the hobo!

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 3:34 p.m. CST

    That is strange about the lack of guns...

    by Blue_Demon

    Everyone I know has at LEAST one.<p>I believe people would go cannibal on each other. We're not very nice when we think nobody's watching. Remember New Orleans? People weren't stealing food. They were stocking up on Nikes and TV sets. How about manning the sandbag line if you've got all that energy?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 3:52 p.m. CST

    ebonic_plague - Nice Thundarr reference.

    by vic twenty

    If Viggo had a Mok, nobody would steal his shopping cart...

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 4:05 p.m. CST

    And if he had Princess Ariel, he'd really be set.

    by Blue_Demon

    The crazy girl walked around in a one piece bathing suit.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 5:30 p.m. CST

    A prayer for the dying

    by Simpsonian

    nope, never heard of it. but sounds like my type of thing. thanks for the tip.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Mr. Nice Gaius

    by AsimovLives

    You must be in seventh heaven, given the general positive reviews and word of mouth this movie is getting. and while i understand you found Ebert's review strange, i do think he gave a pretty positive one for the movie as well. In fact, seems he didn't gave a higher score because of the depressive nature of the movie, and i have seen Ebert put down a movie because it's depressive or has violence against children and stuff like that.<br><br>But really you must be pretty high on this. and i'm also very hopeful as well. But then again, i adore The Proposition and I think John Hillcoat is the man.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    John Hillcoat is the real deal

    by AsimovLives

    After watching Ghost Of The Civil Dead and The Proposition, i have absolutly no doubt this guy's talent. He is a very talented filmmaker. Our friend Aquatarkusman claime dthat Danny Houston deserved seven oscars for his work on The Proposition, i'd like to say that every major actor in that movie deserved seven oscars for their job in the movie. It's one of the best asemble acting i ever seen in a movie, everybody is in a state of grace. unbelievable. I can't believe how good The Proposition is. It's like a miracle.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    Mr. Nice Gaius

    by AsimovLives

    An asteroid impact seems o me the best explanation for why the world is at it is in The Road. The reason i put down a "niclear war" scenario is because, literally, it's impossible for humans to survive one. And the least of the problems would be the firebombing, but the aftermath. The radiation, the uraniun and plutonium poisoning, the cancers and mutations on young children and newborns. One of the first causes of a nuclear war would be the survivors to go blind, since the eyes are particular fragilel and susceptible to dammage and get cancerous from the radiation and poisoning. Can you imagine that, the whole of humanity going blind in a whole world turned to cinder?<br><br>An asteroid impact would create a similiar situation to what caused the great expermination of the dinosaurs, or at least those which didn't had feathers and evolved into birds. The greater survivos of the Dino Extinction were bugs and small mammals. But it's not a totally impossible scenarion for a few humans to survive. Who knows? But a asteroid impact takes out the worst thing from the nuclear war scenario: radiation and enviromental poisoning due to uranium and plutonium.