Friday, November 28, 2008

The Road


Okay so I had to write this while still being inspired. After getting my latest Filmmaker magazine I read an article about a movie called "The Road". It is being directed by John Hillcoat, and it is from a novel written by Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy is the author of the "No Country for Old Men", so this is not a story from an unknown author. The story is a post-apocalyptic story about a man and his son traveling across a burnt out and desolate United States. It is not an easy read, and from what the article author explains in Filmmaker it is NOT an easy film to watch.

The movie is being distributed by Dimension Films, and looks to be released in early 2009. The movie was filmed mostly in Pennsylvania, and was chosen for its tax breaks and its abundance of locations that looked post-apocalyptic such as coalfields, dunes, and run-down parts of Pittsburgh. The abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike was used for much of production. The director also said of using Pittsburgh as a practical location, "It's a beautiful place in fall with the colors changing, but in winter, it can be very bleak. There are city blocks that are abandoned. The woods can be brutal. We didn't want to go the CGI world." Filmmakers also shot scenes in parts of New Orleans that had been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and on Mount St. Helens in Washington.

My wife and I have been to many parts of Pennsylvania and she can recall when I said that this would be a great place to film. Many of those locations were desolate, and far in-between known civilization. At $ 30 million dollars I can only hope that they captured the full extent of PA's location.

I had and have been working on a story about a post apocalyptic world, but much more scaled down then this. After all I don't have 30 million to spend. The article along with the photos I've seen on-line look very promising. I'm sure it's not a feel good film, and from what I hear it isn't, but I like the director has to say. He is more into depicting "realism" and NOT using CGI which sometimes can look fake as I've said in my review of "Diary of the Dead".

Anyway this looks to be an interesting film. I really like the "realism" angle. Sort of that Italian neo-realism that happened after world war 2. After all the studios were all gone, so filmmakers were forced to use locations as their sets, and to a large extent it was successful. Then came the birth of the French New Wave and cinema wasn't the same ever again.

Sometimes old things become new, and sometimes the older ways are still the best. My challenge is to use locations as part of the story, and use them effectively. Having too big of crew can be a problem and having to little can also be a problem. It is that balance that one needs to make an effective film on a budget that Hollywood would consider insignificant. "The Road's film website isn't up yet, but I'm sure in the next few months the film will get more and more attention, and especially because of its subject matter and the times we currently live in. Check it out and take a look. I think you'll be impressed and interested.

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