The Road

Director John Hillcoat

Producers Nick Wechsler, Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz

Production companies 2929 Productions

US distribution Dimension Pictures

International sales Magnolia Pictures/2929 International

US release date November 25

Worldwide gross $6m to December 13

Best picture chances

It may be too bleak for some but The Road is also one of the year’s bolder artistic visions and acclaimed by most critics as an effective adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel. An outsider, but a contender nonetheless.

What Screen said

“There is so much in this picture, from dread, horror, to suspense, bitterly moving love, extraordinary, Oscar-worthy art direction and a desperate lead performance from Viggo Mortensen which illustrates perfectly the wrenching fear of parental love. But its hopelessness will make The Road hard-going for general audiences. Artistically, though, this film is a success and anyone who sees it is unlikely to ever forget John Hillcoat’s interpretation of McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic planet where “each day is greyer than the one before”. Production designer Chris Kennedy, using mainly Pennsylvania but also post-Katrina locations in Louisiana, presents a world which is dying slowly — Nick Cave’s sparse soundtrack punctuated by the crashes of trees falling to the ground… A bleak Mortensen, his face etched like an El Greco painting, urgently and convincingly conveys his character’s love and desperation, the actor’s physicality heightening the sense of reality.”

Fionnuala Halligan