Hillcoat's movie is a resounding triumph. Stunning landscape photography sets the melancholy mood, and Nick Cave's wrenching score reinforces it. But it is the performances that ultimately hold the film together.
Tom Huddlestone, Time Out, 2010-01-08
It hits a few tinny, sentimental notes. Still, I admire the craft and conviction of this film, and I was impressed enough by the look and the performances to recommend that you see it.
A.O. Scott, At the Movies, 2009-11-30
In this haunting portrait of America as no country for old men or young, Hillcoat -- through the artistry of Mortensen and Smit-McPhee -- carries the fire of our shared humanity and lets it burn bright and true.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, 2009-11-29
How could anything so bleak be so promising?
Peter Howell, Toronto Star, 2009-11-29
You hang on to yourself for dear life, resisting belief as best you can in the face of powerful acting, persuasive filmmaking and the perversely compelling certainty that nothing will turn out all right.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, 2009-11-29
Is the film too grim? Or not grim enough? In a perverse way, I fear it's both.
Christopher Orr, The New Republic, 2009-11-26
This year's entry in the Movies You Admire and Respect but Don't Ever Want to Watch Again Sweepstakes.
Eric D. Snider, Film.com, 2009-11-25
The most arresting aspect of The Road is just how fully the filmmakers have realized this bleak, blighted landscape of a modern society reduced to savagery.
A.O. Scott, New York Times, 2009-11-25
This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is intense and, yes, depressing -- and earns every minute that it rattles inside your head.
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News, 2009-11-25
My, but it's been a fine year for Armageddon.
Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, 2009-11-25
Mortensen warms the film with his presence, creating a vivid portrait of a bereft man clinging to the one thing he has left.
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, 2009-11-25
The Road -- centered by Mortensen's typically physical but tempered performance -- is hard to watch. But it could have been much harder. Hillcoat isn't doing opera here, he's doing tragedy.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2009-11-25
The Road, a tremulous heartbreaker onscreen, has successfully made the leap despite an unthinkable amount of fidelity.
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York, 2009-11-25
Hillcoat gives [the postapocalypse] an unnerving solidity by focusing on the drab details of survival and linking them to the more hellish aspects of modern American life.
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, 2009-11-25
Hillcoat certainly provides the requisite seriousness, but what the movie lacks is an underlying sense of innocence, a sense that, however far humanity has sunk, there is at least some chance of rising again.
Sam Adams, Los Angeles Times, 2009-12-02
The Road possesses undeniable sweep and a grim kind of grandeur, but it ultimately plays like a zombie movie with literary pretensions.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2009-11-25
Zombieland was the same movie with laughs, but if you take away the comedy, what is left? Nothing, on a vast scale.
Kyle Smith, New York Post, 2009-11-25
Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning, Oprah-endorsed, post-apocalyptic survivalist prose poem... was a quick, lacerating read. John Hillcoat's literal adaptation is, by contrast, a long, dull slog.
J. Hoberman, Village Voice, 2009-11-25
Unless you're far better at walling yourself off from identification than I am, you walk out in a state of untreated shock. Rather than thinking about the movie afterward, you wait for it to wear off.
Dana Stevens, Slate, 2009-11-25
This is a willfully, skillfully crafted film with insufficient heart to the task it undertakes. It never fully connects us to love amid its ruins.
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post, 2009-11-25