The Road Comparing the Movie with the Book

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a father and son story of survival in a post-apocalyptic setting which is captured well in both the movie and the book.  It underscores the boundless magnitude of a fathers love for his son in a world which has become ugly, lackluster, vile and savage.  The nameless characters in the story are a man and a boy, who is his son.  It is a moving story of how they manage to survive obstacles despite having nothing but a cart with some goods, a gun with two bullets, and carrying the fire inside them.  The plot is dreadful as it shows future scenarios which the author sees most possible to take place.  The storys enveloping theme of sadness is passed on to the reader and the viewer as it shows a gray landscape and gloomy milieu all throughout.

It is expected that some parts of the novel would be discarded for the sake of keeping the story within the usual time period of a full-length movie, hence, some details were left out.  In the novel, there was a part of the story where they went to a gasoline station in the hope of finding fuel for their lamp but found none.

What the father did was he gathered all the empty containers of oil which he placed upside down, collected all these drippings in a container which made almost half a gallon which they were able to take with them.  Later on, he was able to use this oil to light their lamp and read to his son before they rested for the night.  These details were omitted in the movie version.

Another part of the book which was removed in the movie was the part where the man was feeling symptoms of desperation because of their situation and he was blaming God for their misfortunes.  In the movie, the worst scenes the man had were those in which he was coughing and crying, but not the way it was presented in the novel.  The bad dreams of the father and his son were also omitted in the movie, which were recurrent throughout the book although the dreams about the mans wife were retained as part of the flashback scenes leading up to the time she left them.   The scenes on the dam, the house the father used to live in, and the flute picked up along the road which the father and son were able to pass through as mentioned by McCarthy were also removed from the movie.

The father and son were also able to find some mushrooms from the forest called morels, which they cooked as part of their meal and ate later on  this part also wasnt included in the movie.  For the most part, the pair only ate canned goods and other preserved goods which they could pick-up from abandoned houses, stores, etc. and adding this part could have made the story more interesting since it would have also shown that the father knows how to look at other sources aside from the salvaged goods they stumble upon for their sustenance.

McCarthy also mentions in his novel of a man who was struck by lightning which the man and the boy come upon.  However, they wont be able to help the man since he was already beyond assistance and was dying, so the boy cried the whole time after this incident.  There was also a house where the man found some dried apples and a concrete tank where there was clean water in the book which meant so much to them because they hadnt eaten for days.  The desperation of finding food was not much felt by the viewer in the film as it is recounted in the book.  The burned train in the woods was also part of the novel.  All of the above scenes were part of the book but were not included in the movie adaptation.    

On the other hand, there were numerous scenes which were part of both the movie and the book.  One of these is the part where the man treated his boy to a Coca Cola in can which he found lodged in an old vending machine in an abandoned grocery store.  The rumbling sound of an earthquake which shocked the boy from his sleep is also another.  The map which they used which was mentioned as one roadmap that had been torn into leaves and merely numbered for reference was one essential guide in both the movie and the novel.  The man and the boy taking a dip by the waterfalls as well as the man going to the ship to find items which they might be able to use was also included in the book and adapted in the film.  

The man used his first bullet on a man who held the boy as hostage, and who unfortunately had his brains splattered all over the boy  this was shown in both film and book versions.  The little boy who saw another boy his age in one of their house rummaging exploits was also presented in both the movie and the book, which illustrated the compassion the young boy had to help the needy.  There was also this house which was being used by the bandits  supposedly cannibals -- in the movie, who kept naked people in the basement.  The naked people were food for this people and this was discovered by the man and his son in one of their so-called hunts, but they were lucky to have escaped an otherwise terrible fate.  Likewise, the part where the man and his son get to find the bunker filled with goods, the old man they help on the road and the bum who almost steals their cart with the goods were all part of both the movie and the book versions.

There were, however, some scenes in the movie which differed from what were written in the novel.  Like the man throwing away picture and ring on the bridge --in the novel the man merely leaves his things on the road.  The book also shows the mans bravery by doing the suturing of his wound from the bow shot.  In the movie, the man used manual staplers to close up his wound, which is surely not the real manner one would deal with a wound.  Furthermore, the book devoted more emphasis to the scenes on the ship (which the man and the boy found) from which the man salvaged a handful of items and returned to numerous times before coming upon the flare gun.  As a whole though, the movie was able to portray the essentials of the plot which was the love between the father and his son.  


Post a Comment