The Road: A Struggling Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee

***Update: Press Conference now available***

Surprise, surprise, I’ve made it over to London for the British Film Institutes’s 53rd Annual London Film Festival (a little late but here none-the-less).

I started the trip off on a bit of a depressing note, with a screening of The Road followed by a press conference with actor Viggo Mortensen, screenwriter Joe Penhall, and director John Hillcoat. All of whom were in much chipper spirits than there film was.

Check out a few photos from the press conference and some quick thoughts on the film below…

***Warning: Some Minor Spoilers Ahead***

My first opinion of the film, without worrying about writing a formal review (which will come later) is that the performances are gritty and heart-wrenching. The overall tone was well established, the writing was sparse but well done, and all and all, I liked it. Even if you’ve read the book or know the story, you never knew quite know what to expect next, which is always a welcome surprise in theaters.

In the film you’re never given an explanation as to what exactly has happened, you’re only given the desolate world in which they live in now (or rather try not to die in). The film did a good job of allowing us to understand as little about their situations as possible, which kept one from trying to predict what was next. In fact, just like the characters on screen, the only thing you could do was watch and hope, which helped you feel involved in the film and if nothing else a bit depressed (and possibly hungry if you forgot to eat before).

Overall, the tone, the art direction, the script, all helped to capture the desolate hopelessness of the film, but by the end of it, I couldn’t help from wonder what the greater meaning was of putting an audience through so much? Is it to never give up hope? Because they really don’t give you much reason to want to live. In the film, more people stay alive out of fear of dying than desire to live. To me I couldn’t help but wonder if the message of the film was “what’s the point in living if there is no life?”

That being said, after the screening I talked to some nice people, got a cup of coffee, and walked around London and felt extremely glad to be doing so – almost as if the film made me take a breath and look around. So maybe the point of the film isn’t to enjoy the process, but to realize what we have when we walk out of the theater – but it’s a rough road to get there.

Also, on a less deep, side note, what’s up with Guy Pearce randomly showing up in good movies for a few seconds as a crazy-ish character? He’s done that twice this year. First in The Hurt Locker and now this. He’s Guy Pearce for Christ’s sake! Someone give him some more lines!

That’s it for now! Getting late in London Town. If you want to keep up with ScreenCrave follow us on Twitter or check back in when you have a chance.

Check out the photos of Viggo Mortensen, Joe Penhall, and John Hillcoat from the press conference below…

And we will have the press conference typed up for you as soon as possible! And no, Viggo did not talk about retiring from acting. He was laid back and happy to quietly talk about the movie and even throw in some jokes. I for one could see him spending his days happily on a ranch somewhere. Especially since every movie he’s in they seem to try to break him via cold, sword fights, stab wounds, or something dangerous.

Coming up on my schedule for the next few days at LFF is:

Check back in soon!