The Road is one of those movies that is hard to do a review for. It's old enough that anyone who was thinking about seeing it has already seen it, but not old enough to review as a forgotten gem that people don't remember, and not indy enough that someone might have missed it coming out. So I've decided to do more of a discussion about it instead.
For anyone who still hasn't seen it and is wondering if he should, it's a pretty depressing post apocalyptic movie. It's good depressing, very suspenseful, and Viggo is great in it, so if you like end of the world movies, it's worth a viewing. You should probably leave now and go watch it as spoilers are ahead.
So for everyone else, wow, what a depressing movie huh? A mother left her son, there were cannibals, guys stealing clothes, dying forests, oh and cannibals. It's got a depressing beginning, a depressing middle, and a hopeful end. A lot of critics were faulting the story for having such a hopeful ending; not that anyone changed it from the book, it just gave a different mood from the rest of the movie, as though it didn't fit.
They've been running from cannibals, everyone is trying to kill them, the father is constantly trying to teach the kid not to trust anyone, then when Viggo finally dies at the end, along comes a nice family with kids and a dog to take care of his kid? What? How can that fit?
But I have a different theory. I think that the ending changes the context of the entire movie. Throughout the movie, the audience has been seeing the world through Viggo's eyes. It's a dark unforgiving place with people constantly trying to kill them. His wife left him and his kid, everyone is following them, everyone wants their food and supplies, and danger lurks around every corner.
But is that really how it was? Perhaps the father wasn't "the good guy" after all. Maybe if he had looked at the world as the child did, they wouldn't have gotten into so much trouble. Maybe no one was "following" them, maybe the group at the beginning wasn't a group of cannibals, maybe it was just a dog with a nice family outside the hatch, maybe the people who shot him in the leg with an arrow were just as scared as him and only wanted to defend their territory. The world is relative, and it's all how you view it.
The house with the hunters and the girls locked up in the basement was completely fucked up though.