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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

87






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 111 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH,
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Music by: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Written by: Jon Penhall
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 25, 2010







"Keep carrying the fire"



Film Synopsis:


An all-star cast are featured in this epic post-apocalyptic tale of the survival of a father and his young son as they journey across a barren America that was destroyed by a mysterious cataclysm. A masterpiece adventure, THE ROAD boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of - a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.



My Take:


The Road is based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, the author of No country for old men. A father (Mortensen) and his young son (Smit-McPhee) fight to survive after an unspecified apocalyptic event, traveling toward the warmer coast with the hope of possible food, safety, and the company of fellow survivors. Along their journey, with scarce shelter and resources available, they encounter many horrors and hardships, and must endure the constant fear of roaming cannibals and other desperate gangs. Despite having next to nothing but each other, and with little more than the clothes on their back, a rusty cart and a pistol for defense, they manage to maintain their humanity, decency and a human connection.

Watching the trailer for this film gave me a different impression of what it was going to be like. While it wasn't really what I envisioned I was pleasantly surprised by it. I found the first thirty five minutes or so frustrating because it gave little to no background on the characters or what had happened, which left me feeling disconnected to Papa and Boy. I came to find out that the connection had to be made over the course of the film and it was. This is a dark and foreboding story about a father and son struggling to survive in a world where an unexplained cataclysm has vanquished animals, crippled Mother Nature and left the planet a seemingly barren shell. In the aftermath mankind seems to have lost its humanity where many have sunk to ruthless depravity.

We learn about some of Papa and Boy's past through a series of flashback sequences, most of which offer snippets of the once happy Papa and his Wife (Theron). Later we see a little more which explains how the cataclysm affected their lives and ultimately why she is not with them. This is a character driven film that depicts the love between a father and son while telling it from a perspective that relates in part to morality interwoven with the need for survival at the most basic level. Boy and Papa are the primary characters however they encounter many nefarious types, with only a few exceptions, along their journey. Children are seen as special since there are few left. Boy's compassion and empathy is in stark contrast to all of those around him, including his father. The heart of the story lies in the journey, both spiritually and emotionally, between Boy and Papa and the looming inevitability of their plight.

Viggo Mortensen gives a superb performance that is perfectly matched by the credible and evocative turn by his young co-star Kodi Smit-McPhee. Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron each contribute with small but defining roles. The Road isn't a completely fulfilling film and some may find the staggered pacing too slow especially if expectations are different. I think that sticking with it pays off and results in an emotive and rewarding dramatic film that is worth seeing.




Parental Guide:


The rating is for mature thematic material, violence, language and disturbing images.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 86


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:






Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The Road comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

The video has a stylized look that utilizes a de-saturated color scheme and slightly scaled back contrast which gives images a flatter less dynamic appearance. Blacks are strong and detail in dark areas and shadowy backgrounds is excellent. The primary color range is limited to shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson red and amber highlights. The visual design isn't such that it offers glossy, razor sharp quality however resolution is excellent as images are delineated and dimensionally strong. There are a series of flashback sequences where the monochromatic appearance vanishes. Colors are rich and satisfying as objects onscreen offer vibrant textures and clear definition. This film's intentionally dark visuals and vapid color don't exhibit the eye catching imagery generally associated with new release films coming to Blu-ray but that doesn't prevent it from looking terrific in high definition.

The lossless audio presentation has no trouble conveying the elements present in the soundtrack. Dialogue reproduction is good and exhibits clear intonation with fair room penetration. The mix does a nice job of handling the various directional cues and near field simulation featured in the screenplay. Atmosphere creating sounds mixed to the rear channels create a neatly balanced rear soundfield that seamlessly blends with the front soundstage. This generally consists of spatial ambience however discrete effects are present and appropriate based upon the events transpiring onscreen. Dynamics are potent which lends weight to sound effects and authoritative extension to low frequency effects. You will want to turn up the earthquake/falling tree scene during chapter 12. I was impressed by the high level clarity, front/rear channel integration, and powerful room energizing bass featured in this brief but memorable sequence. I found this to be a stirring audio presentation that hits the high points quite well.





Bonus Features:

  • This title includes Sony's new Movie IQ features which requires a BD-Live connection and allows fans the option of viewing continuously updated details on the cast and crew and to explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music, and soundtrack information which are tied into scenes in the movie.

  • Making of The Road - 13 minute featurette

  • 5 Deleted/extended scenes

  • Audio commentary with director John Hillcoat

  • (HD) Theatrical trailers

  • BD-Live enabled





Final Thoughts:


The Road is based upon the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. It isn't exactly what I anticipated but nevertheless makes for an emotive and rewarding dramatic film. Viggo Mortensen and young co-star Kodi Smit-McPhee are magnificent as a father and son struggling to balance survival while sustaining their humanity in a world where achieving both seems to be impossible. Its stylized video presentation and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack shine on Blu-ray Disc. Fans will find the limited number of bonus features disappointing however that doesn't taint an otherwise solid offering from Sony. The Road is a film that is worth checking out but I would suggest a rental prior to purchase.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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I didn't read the review since I'm reading the book right now. Are there any spoilers? The book is excellent so far (I'm a little over halfway through).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious /forum/post/18632097


I didn't read the review since I'm reading the book right now. Are there any spoilers? The book is excellent so far (I'm a little over halfway through).

I haven't seen the movie yet (plan on it this weekend), nor read the book, but it doesn't sound like there were any spoilers in Ralph's review.
 

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Ralph -- Thanks for your timely review of The Road BD. I have an entry in my calendar to pick it up at Blockbuster when it is released on 25 May. I read The Road primarily because the Coen brothers' movie version of No Country for Old Men so intrigued me, I then read Cormack McCarthy's novel of the same name and loved it.


Later, I read McCarthy's The Road, too, and also enjoyed it. I am very much looking forward to the movie because I think Viggo Mortensen is a fine actor and should be perfect as The Father in the film version. By the way, I didn't see any spoiler's in the review, either. The story tells us at the very beginning that The Father and The Son are on "The Road" alone in dark and foreboding times.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat /forum/post/18632231


Ralph -- Thanks for your timely review of The Road BD.

+1. Looking forward to seeing this.
 

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Thanks for the review Ralph. This is one film I REALLY wanted to see in the theater, but didn't get the opporunity. The story between a father and son has real appeal to me, especially that I am a father of a 12 yo boy w/ a strong connection to fatherhood. I struggle whether to blind buy it or rent. My gut says to rent first, even though Viggo is one of my favorite actors and the storyline of a bond between a father and son...


If BR titles were priced in the $15 or less number, I'd buy more on a whim, instead of hoping BB has enough to rent.
 

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I went through a Cormac McCarthy reading binge two years ago and finished it off with a reading of "The Road." All McCarthy's books tend have a dark side and this story further proves that. I've been looking forward to this movie and definitely will pick up the BD when it is released. Thanks for the review.
 

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I read the book before I watched the movie. The book has a very interesting style to it. McCarthy writes what I would call "free flowing". That is, there are no quotes for character dialogue...very informal writing. I think it fit the story quite well.


The film is, in my opinion, a very good version of the story. I'm glad to see people have enjoyed this film. It asks many important questions, while displaying the lengths that one will go to ensure health and safety for their child.


I concur that this is a rental for first-time viewers.
 

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I thought this was a great film and Viggo did a pretty good job in it. When i first saw the movie the concept and premise reminded me of Will Smith's I Am Legend. Ending was somewhat sad.


Definitely a collect for me!


Cheers
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboster /forum/post/18632539


instead of hoping BB has enough to rent.

That's how I am with my BB. They just don't bring in alot of new release blurays. Plenty of dvd copies on the shelf but no bluray version available unless you get lucky or a week or so has gone by.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCaboNow /forum/post/18634771


That's how I am with my BB. They just don't bring in alot of new release blurays. Plenty of dvd copies on the shelf but no bluray version available unless you get lucky or a week or so has gone by.

I have a one out at a time in store subscription at my neighborhood BB. They never have as many BD copies of a new release as they do DVD copies. I suspect that my BB will probably not get more than a copy or two of The Road BD. Generally, when I suspect something like that with a new release I make plans to be in the store shortly after opening time on the day it is released. That's what I did with the Coen brothers latest film, A Simple Man. My BB got only one copy but I managed to get there first and snag it.
 

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Thanks for the review Ralph. I have been awaiting for this one for quite some time and I suspect many others are anticipating this release. Glad to see this got some very good scores across the board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCaboNow /forum/post/18634771


That's how I am with my BB. They just don't bring in alot of new release blurays. Plenty of dvd copies on the shelf but no bluray version available unless you get lucky or a week or so has gone by.

Its a problem at all BB's. I may be wrong, but I believe BB pays full price or near full price for Blu-ray rentals (at least with most studios) whereas with DVD's they get a bulk price. This may be as to why they have limited copies of some releases on Blu-ray.
 

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One thing I have to applaud with Ralph is his talent for describing a movie without being specific as to ruin any key events in the movie but still giving an informative review. It's not as easy as some might think.


Several other online reviewers, DVDtown being the absolute worst in this regard, find a need to describe the whole movie in detail with numerous spoilers and somehow think because they didn't give away the ending that's it's a spoiler free review. Doesn't seem to occur to these guys that a large amount of readers have not seen the movie in addition to people who are reading just for A\\V specs on the BR. Giving away key plot points in the 1st and 2nd act is just as bad as doing it in ther 3rd act since last time I checked poeple watch movies from start to finish. It's bad enough that movie trailers like to give away the whole plot in 2 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite Dan /forum/post/18645684


One thing I have to applaud with Ralph is his talent for describing a movie without being specific as to ruin any key events in the movie but still giving an informative review. It's not as easy as some might think.

Greetings,


Thank you Dan. It is something that I am cautious about as I try to provide enough detail to get my point across without giving away the farm. I appreciate the acknowledgement and you're right sometimes it can be difficult.




Regards,
 

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I'm glad you reviewing this film Ralph. Excellent job as always.


One of my all-time favorite books, and I enjoyed seeing it in the theatre. Looking forward to picking this one up.
 

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Probably one of (if not THE) most depressing movies I have ever seen. This movie is not what you think it is. It just makes you want to jump off a bridge after seeing it. Very different movie, very "real" and you won't get it out of your head for a while.
 
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