— by JASON EAKEN —
I read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” in about two days this past summer. The writing is immediate and stark, and it has a very terse quality that really worked. I’m eager to see the movie, due in large part to director John Hillcoat (2006’s “The Proposition”) and actors Viggo Mortensen and Robert Duvall.
But I’m not so sure about their marketing campaign. I understand it. The trailer misrepresents some of the story elements (but okay what trailer doesn’t?) and now here is this featurette with a very clear agenda.
I read in Entertainment Weekly that the producers are really pushing the film for a Christian audience, because of themes about fatherhood and pressing on against odds and the redemptive power of hope (see this article for more on that). The featurette below seems blatantly tailored to a more mainstream audience. It is very broad and throws around all the big key words. Listen to the swelling orchestra toward the end, clearly trying to make the movie appear almost family-friendly.
I have no doubt the film itself retains the qualities of McCarthy’s book. But some of the clips shown during the featurette look a little more sentimental, a little more broadly dramatic than necessary. It opens just in time for Thanksgiving, certainly hoping to wrangle some holiday business (and what movie isn’t?).
I don’t know that I have a real problem with the featurette. It shows everyone talking honestly about the making of the film and its themes. Everyone seemed to have been very affected by the book and the production. And if it is made in such a way that people who might ordinarily skip the movie are now drawn to it, then I am perfectly fine with it. So long as the quality of the film itself is not compromised.
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