Last night’s AFI FEST screening at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater of The Road starring Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, and Guy Pearce and directed by John Hilllcoat was riveting and thought provoking to say the least. The post apocalyptic tale is an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy Pulitzer Prize winning novel and focuses on a father and son trying to live after a cataclysmic disaster has hit the Earth and everything is dead-except for a few survivors. The skies are gray, the ground is cracked dirt, there is no vegetation, and seemingly no animals, so as you can imagine, people have resorted to any means to survive-including cannibalism. Gross! This duo holds on to the hope that there is some light at the end of the road at the beach, but have to fight off scavengers along the way. It is a harrowing journey that demonstrates the innate love between father and son and bonds them by a will to survive, or as they refer to it, “the fire.” Great direction by John Hillcoat who paints a mind blowing picture of the end of the world.
The screening was preceded by a tribute to Viggo Mortensen in which the actor participated in a Q & A and answered questions about his lengthy career and cherished family. He made mention that he only stopped subsidizing his acting work with other jobs to make ends meet “a little over 10 years ago.” The loving father that he is, Viggo relished in chatting about his own son and revealed that whenever a “blockbuster movie” is released, that he and his son “go on opening day and participate in a Siskel & Ebert session afterward.” After watching The Road, it is so evident that Viggo pulled in his own fatherly experience especially in scenes where his on screen son, played by the commendable Koti Smit McPhee, is threatened and the loving, tender moments they share as a team. Those were really touching to see. There was even talk last night of Oscar contention for Viggo’s role in this movie, which I totally agree with-he was superb. Also on hand last night was the gorgeous Charlize Theron, who plays Mortensen’s defeated, broken spirited wife, and who was dressed beautifully and also wearing flats. Lucky tall girl! She assumed her seat in the theater next to her steady beau of years, the dashing Stuart Townsend. Other supporters of the flick who attended the screening last night included CSI’s Marg Helgenberger and Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat, who was dressed like a Grecian goddess. On to the after party at The Roosevelt, where Viggo graciously accepted pats on the back from guests for his extraordinary work and Bob Weinstein, from The Weinstein Company, held court.
The Weinstein Company’s The Road will open in theaters on November 25th, 2009.