When John Hillcoat's THE ROAD missed its November 2008 release date, many of us began fearing the worst. Though Hillcoat seemed an ideal choice to adapt Cormac McCarthy's grim novel about a father and son journeying through a post-apocalyptic landscape (his 2005 feature debut, THE PROPOSITION, was not a cheerful viewing experience), it all started going south last October when we began hearing word of major changes to the narrative and, worse, negative feedback from a New York City test screening. So when the movie was bumped to 2009, it just seemed like an abandon-all-hope situation.
Well, things may be starting to look up for THE ROAD. First off, the film has a confident mid-October release date (which, historically, is better than a September release date - at least for prestige pictures). Then there's Tom Chiarella's advance rave in Esquire, which praises Hillcoat's film as "...a brilliantly directed adaptation of a beloved novel, a delicate and anachronistically loving look at the immodest and brutish end of us all".
And now there's this just-released theatrical trailer, which, if you can get past the necessary hard-sell, looks kinda right. Okay, Charlize Theron's role has certainly been beefed up (this is acknowledged in Chiarella's piece), but, slight narrative changes aside, I can see McCarthy's THE ROAD lurking underneath the marketing bombast (according to Chiarella, the DAY AFTER TOMORROW nonsense that opens the trailer is not in the movie). Granted, I'm not sold on the film's brilliance just yet, but I'm certainly much more upbeat than I was eight months ago.
What do you think?