Cormac McCarthy fans: ALERT! According to CHUD.com, Cormac McCarthy's unimaginably-depressing opus The Road has just been bought up by Producer Nick Wechsler, and is to be directeed by John Hillcoat
I have no idea who either of those guys are, but here's the deal: There are a few things this film MUS have or do in order to bring the bleaker-than-the-blackest-bleak world of The Road
to life properly on the big screen.
1. The entire film must be grey. Grey, grey, grey--but NOT
filmed in black-and-white. There are moments in the film when color is nececssary. But washed-out, fading color. This is a film about a dying, exhausted world covered in ash, from which all but the vaguest memories of color and life have been leached. Only the flames of campfires and burning forests should have any real color, as the final consuming flames are the only things truly "alive" in this world anymore.
2. SILENCE. This film must make great use of silence. Long stretches unbroken by dialogue, filled only with the haggard breathing of the actors and the crunch of boots in ash-drifts and filthy snow.
3. NO MUSIC. None. Music and all forms of art died with the burnt world. If some kind of sonic underpinning in necessary to give more gravity or tension to certain scenes, the background noise should only be horrific atonal clankings and bass-heavy drones, a la Coil's How to Destroy Angels
or anything by Nurse With Wound.
4. No undue emphasis on the tiny embers of hope that burn throughout the novel in order to make the film more palatable to general audiences. McCarthy's novels are manifestly NOT hopeful works. They're not completely
immersed in despair, but it's always clear that despair and meaninglessness has the upper hand. The Road
makes this known more clearly than any of McCarthy's prior works...and any potential screenwriter and director must know that you CAN'T "brighten up" a story like this. It is meant
to make you feel filthy, hopeless, and depressed.