Arty Tedium, 24 January 2010
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have not read the eponymous book ,and approached the film wanting to like it, but was left desperately disappointed. The one hour 51 minute running time contains a handful of dramatic events, and a morass of maudlin, cod- pretentious musings which become increasingly preposterous as the tale wears on. The Coen’s cinematic realisation of author McCarthey’s “No Country for Old Men” was portentous, elegiac ,and had a brooding grandeur. This simply finds a groove, and stays there. There is literally no light and shade , with Director John Hillcoat failing to find more than one gear throughout. The Coen’s like people and dialogue, Hillcoat doesn’t.
Played as largely a father and son two hander ,starring Vigo Mortensen and Kodi Smith- McPhee respectively, some worthwhile themes are well explored. The post apocalyptic physical landscape is realistically presented, and the agonies of a father trying to teach and maintain humanity in a brutal landscape starkly depicted.
Some of the trailers for this movie tried to tap into the “Survivor” genre explored in the “Mad Max” series, “Omega man / I am Legend”, “28 days Later” etc. But in truth it does not belong there. Intriguingly, last years “Carriers” covered similar ground, with a less august story and much smaller budget, and was more satisfying.
Although there is much that is worthy here , it is totally undone by a truly awful ending. After 110 minutes of unremitting gloom we have a happy surrogate family to make everything better.I was hoping that they would eat the boy! Although all this pretty much flies in the face of the Critics gushing praise I can only call it as I saw it. Tellingly, the cinema I saw it in,eleven days into the run, had only seven people in it for a Sunday afternoon showing, the viewing public appear to be voting with their feet.