Book vs. Movie: The Road

Hello, my lovely readers!
I recently shared my thoughts on Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. Well, I stumbled upon the adaptation on Netflix. So let’s see what’s more captivating – book or movie?

The Plot:

In a post-apocalyptic America, a man and son keep walking. There’s nothing but ash and desolation surrounding them. No animals, no food, no shelter. They are heading for the coast, not even knowing what they will find there…

Book vs. Movie:

So let’s kick it off with some thoughts on the novel. The only word that adequately describes this novel is haunting.

There’s not much of an explanation what caused the terrible circumstances the father and son are now facing which makes the story even darker. While reading I had an uneasy feeling that I could never quite shake. The plot is somewhat repetitive with actually works perfectly with the overall theme of depression and no hope.

It took me a bit to get used to McCarthy’s writing style and to get into the story in general. But then I was hooked. I am still not the biggest fan of this writer’s style, but the story is captivating. It’s a rather short book, so nothing is lost in case you really don’t enjoy the story.
Let’s move on to the film!

The Road is a very well-made adaptation. I’m not 100% over the moon, but I was impressed with how well the story was translated to the screen. 

While the book is actually rather short, several omissions where made for the film. Often I am sad to see bits left out, but here it was certainly necessary. The movie is almost two hours long and making it any longer wouldn’t have done it any good.
The story has a slow pace and I can see why people might get bored with that either in the book or on screen.
However, I think it goes perfectly with the vibe of the story and I’m glad the kept it like that for the adaptation.

The scenery was chosen perfectly and the color palette ties in wonderfully with the world of misery that McCarthy created. I read some reviews stating that the film looked somewhat cheap but for me, it underlines the atmosphere. Having it all polished up would have ruined the movie!

Furthermore, I’d like to give a shoutout to Viggo Mortensen and especially to Kodi Smit-McPhee who played the main roles. Both performances are on point. They keep the film going and are largely responsible for the intense feelings it evokes.

Ultimately, however, I have to admit that while the novel really got under my skin, the adaptation didn’t hit me as hard. Sure, it was well-made and interesting. I can’t even point out what it is exactly that’s not right. The book by Cormac McCarthy was simply more intense and depressing than the film.

The Road certainly isn’t a story for everyone. Be it in book or movie form, the pace and way of storytelling need getting used to. But once you do, it’s absolutely captivating. Although I did enjoy the movie, the novel was a notch better!

Did you read the book? Watch the movie? Let me know in the comments what you think!

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2 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: The Road

  1. I thought this was one of the better movie adaptations I’ve seen, even though I definitely liked the book better. What really seals it for me is that the book’s ending is ambiguous, which I thought was a perfect way to end a story where we never really know what happened. The movie tied things up neatly and gave you something to feel good about. Call me a pessimist, but I almost always prefer a bleak ending over a happy, trite one.

    Liked by 1 person

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