||The Road evokes the images and the characters of Cormac McCarthy's novel. It is powerful, but for me lacks the same core of emotional feeling. I'm not sure this is any fault of the filmmakers. The novel itself would not be successful if it were limited to its characters and images. Its effect comes above all through McCarthy's prose. It is the same with all of McCarthy's work, but especially this one, because his dialogue is so restrained, less baroque than usual...The story is straightforward: America has been devastated. Habitations have been destroyed or abandoned, vegetation is dying, crops have failed, the infrastructure of civilization has disappeared. This has happened in such recent memory that even The Boy, so young, was born into a healthy world. No reason is given for this destruction, perhaps because no reason would be adequate. McCarthy evokes the general apprehension of post-9/11. The Boy and The Man make their way toward the sea, perhaps for no better reason than that sea has always been the direction of hope in this country...Flashback scenes star Charlize Theron as the wife and mother of the two in earlier, sunnier days. These sequences show the marriage as failing, and these memories haunt The Man. I'm not sure what relevance this subplot has to the film as a whole; a marriage happy or sad -- isn't it much the same in this new world? It has a lot of relevance, however, to The Man and The Boy. In times of utter devastation, memories are what we cling to...Hillcoat's earlier film, The Proposition (2005), written by Nick Cave, seems almost McCarthy-like. Something in McCarthy's work draws Hillcoat to it, and you must be a brave director to let that happen. Writing this, I realize few audience members can be expected to have read The Road, even though it was a selection of Oprah's Book Club. Fewer still will have read McCarthy's other works...I've been saying for years that a film critic must review the film before him, and not how "faithful" the film is to the book -- as if we're married to the book, and somehow screen adaptation is adultery. I realize my own fault is in being so very familiar with Cormac McCarthy. That may affect my ability to view any film adaptation of his work afresh. When I know a novel is bring filmed, I make it a point to not read the book. Yet I am grateful for having read McCarthy's.