Filming is said to have begun on "The Road," the book by Cormac McCarthy and I hope you'll read it (if you haven't already) before the movie comes out. Here's why: It's just damn good.
This is the most uncomfortable read I've ever had in the best sort of way. It's the story of a father and his young son on the road to nowhere, otherwise known as "the coast." Everything is dead or near it after some cataclysmic event has left the earth gray "like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world." There are "good guys" and the father, known only as "Papa," and his son, "the boy," are two of very few of them. Then there are the rest: soulless cannibals who rape the remaining women, hold them (and small boys) as slaves, and eat the babies they bear and anyone else they can find. No one has a name because no one has an identity left; they can't afford the effort to maintain one.
Papa and the boy spend every day walking nameless roads to a coast somewhere in the southeastern US in hopes that there is something better there. Some warmth and people who don't eat little boys. They carry a pistol with two spare bullets so that the father can kill himself and the boy if necessary if threatened by the bastards who would do far worse than putting a bullet through a little boy's head. Every waking moment is composed of something like this: the search for an old can of beans in a long-abandoned house, the delicious discovery of an overlooked can of Coca Cola, collecting water MacGyver-style, staying dry, finding shelter, and constant preparation for the worst -- an encounter with someone else. It's the bleakest life imaginable, but they keep on. The boy knows no other existence and his father knows only that he must survive so that his boy can. It's as if the father lives just slightly ahead of his son and, like a minesweeper, clears each moment for the boy to live into. In that rotten hell, how many could carry on for no other reason but that their child might live? If love were literally the only thing left, would it be enough?
Pappa, Boy, Mother
In the movie, Viggo Mortensen is the father and is so right for the role I'm sure "the Universe" will be listed in the credits for his casting. Charlize Theron is playing the mother, and will do a fine job of a small, intense and disturbing role in flashback (if they stick to the book), but without a journey of any length to make. Kodi Smit-McPhee is the boy and has a lot on his little shoulders. I don't know anything about him, but this role will make or break the film. The son is so innocent that his innate simplicity could be confused with something angelic played to reveal a greater message. That would be a mistake.
Viggo and Charlize are two very beautiful people and I hope they let them ugly up. That goes for the whole cast. I want to see filthy, matted hair, ZZ Top-lookin' beards, rotten teeth, and women with leg and armpit hair so long it's braided together. And they should stink, or look like it. There's no grooming in the post-apocalypse. Life and love are the only beauty left in the world of "The Road" and it's against the nasty decay of what never mattered in the first place that we realize just how breathtaking those two things are.