Exhibit 23.1

The Road

I don’t have much to say about the book. It’s good. Great, even. You’ve probably read it. It’s the one where a guy and his kid wander around apres apocalypse and do things Oprah likes (which is weird because if there’s one thing The Road makes clear it’s that chicks can’t handle the end of the world). The prose isn’t as stylized as some of McCarthy’s other work but it’s still incredible, capable of making a 270 page book where not much happens seem tight and fraught and inexhaustibly sad.

The movie, however, is interesting insomuch as it follows the book perfectly, is beautifully imagined, and adds absolutely nothing to the world. All of that makes it fairly hard to hate or even dislike. If anything, I suppose I might even say I liked the movie in terms of it having done exactly what I would have wanted the movie to do. Unfortunately, what I wanted it to do was something profoundly boring, a kind of failure of my own imagination in wanting only ashy skies and leering marauders. Of course, the book had already given me those images only now I got to see what they would look like with Aragorn in the frame and Cheetos product placements. I got to have the old man turned from something strange and intellectually menacing to Robert Duvall, America’s favorite wily grandfather.

There’s a lot of complaining about any film adaptation of a novel but rarely is the complaint that it follows the book too closely. And I’m not even sure if that’s what happened here. No Country for Old Men seemed to treat its source material with similar reverence yet the end result seemed to please everyone. Perhaps it’s because that book was supposedly a screenplay before it was a novel before it was a screenplay. Perhaps it’s because the Coen brothers are better filmmakers. Perhaps there was just more to work with than the sparse, empty world of The Road. In any case, the problem here is not that there is a movie of The Road but that I wanted to see it. And I wanted to see it exactly as how I saw it when reading the book. Then I did see it and it was skillful but empty. Worse, I will now always see it that way. That old guy is forever Harry Hogge.

Maybe I’ve been grading too much, but hours after leaving the theater I wished I had some physical representation of the movie so I could write “Why do you want this to exist?” on it.

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