Looking for God on The Road
- Monday, November 23, 2009
Imagine a movie that showed what the world would actually be like if the Church was gone. Gone as in vanished years ago. This movie would need to be heartbreaking, haunting and emotionally brutal. PG-13 ratings, step aside. Needless to say, it would masterfully portray loneliness, depravity and horror, a life so devastating that, in the words of Revelation 9:6, people "will long to die." The real challenge would be making the film believable while getting by with an R rating.
So what's the good news? In this seemingly godforsaken world, Yahweh, though often hard to find, would still be a major character. That, of course, presents all kinds of redemptive possibilities. But would, or should, such a movie ever be made? Inquiring minds may have their answer on November 25 when the highly-anticipated film, The Road, arrives in theaters.
The post-apocalyptic thriller, starring Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Appaloosa), Charlize Theron (Monster, hancock) and Robert Duvall (The Godfather, The Apostle), is based on the 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, the same literary giant who penned All the Pretty Horses and, later, no country for old men. Hollywood adopted McCarthy into its royal family in 2007 when No Country won the Best Picture Oscar and three other Academy Awards.
Then there's The Road. Winning the Pulitzer is one thing, rivaling Stephenie Meyer's twilight in international pop culture is another. When Oprah Winfrey championed The Road as her book of the month in mid-2007, she started a chain reaction that continues to this day. As director John Hillcoat (The Proposition, To Have and To Hold), who's bringing the novel to the big screen, recently announced: "The Road is now the most translated fiction book in modern times."
In conjunction with Oprah's promotion of the book, the spotlight-shy McCarthy agreed to appear on her show, which marked the then 74-year-old author's first ever television interview. Raised Roman Catholic, yet tipping an agnostic hand, the writer explained how The Road was inspired by his relationship with his young son John, who was born when McCarthy was 65.
The result is a stunning love story between a father and his son set against the most horrific backdrop imaginable. The novel is also a vulnerable examination of a parent's fear of being unable to protect a child and, worse, leaving that child in an increasingly dangerous world.
A Message for the Church
Like the passion of the christ, The Road's producers have tapped A. Larry Ross Communications to present 15 advance screenings for Christian leaders and faith-based media outlets. As the PR company's founder makes his convincing pitch to the faithful, his remarks offer insight into the comparative lack of anticipation within church walls.
"This will be a significant media and cultural event, coming out Thanksgiving weekend," says Ross, "an opportunity for the faith community to seize this as a catalyst to have spiritual conversations with either people who would go to a theater with them but not to church, or colleagues and coworkers who are talking about it. The power of The Road is not the answers given, but the questions asked."
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