Uh oh somebody broke the whole planet. Now it’s mass hysteria: fires and cannibals and ash sandwiches. And Viggo Mortensen is a man trying to keep a little kid alive in all that. Hey kid, have some crumbs and spiderwebs. Hope that holds you for a month.
At least Mortensen had Gandalf’s help the last time he was trying to keep a little person alive in that much smoke and sadness. This time it’s just him versus roving bandit gangs and starvation. Oh yeah and he’s already dying anyhow, of some kind of coughing disease. No wonder, he’s using plastic bags and duct tape for shoes and bandages. Guess CVS probably isn’t open. Y’all got any band-aids? Oh, it’s a cannibal house now? I guess the skulls on sticks outside should have tipped me off.
Well, well- if it isn’t Robert Duvall, playing against type as a grizzled old man. Usually he’s so flamboyant and foppish, but he’s all rugged grit in this role. He really goes to town on a fruit cup in one scene. I’m not sure why I added that, but he really does get fruit cup everywhere.
And look who else it is, it’s Viggo Mortensen’s backside and testicles, playing against type as a grizzled old set of testicles. Usually they’re so flamboyant and foppish, but they’re all rugged grit in this role. His “fruit cup” really goes to town in this movie.
The end of the world I pictured in my head was more hellish than the one in the movie. I was thinking darker skies, blacker soil on a desolate Earth. Ruination. Pits and ribcages. A kingdom of bones into which this father and sun must carry the spark of compassion and love. Death. But not for you Gunslinger, never for you. But hey, who am I to ask, “could you make your apocalypse a little more miserable? Right now it’s got a ‘living inside a wet autumn leaf’ kind of feel but I think it could go darker.'”
Viggo Mortensen and the kid break into a house looking for food and find a cellar with a padlock on it. It’s not full of your grandma’s preserves. Unless your grandma was into capturing and eating people, and in that case your grandmother was a witch. As a kid in preschool nothing scared me more than the idea of a witch cooking me in a cauldron. When the Hall & Oates song “Maneater” came on the radio, I’d get scared thinking of a stringy haired witch who lived in a cave and only came out at night, presumably to eat people, as evidenced by the “watch out boy, she’ll chew you up” line.
Hall & Oates had taken to the radio to warn us all: there is a man-eating woman, she comes out in the evening, she eats children, mostly boys, and we should all exercise caution. I guess I assumed they had narrowly escaped her no doubt bony clutches and had written a life saving song about it.
I like the idea of Daryl Hall and John Oates collapsed on a rock in a dense jungle, breathing heavily, faces scratched, clothes torn. “Did we lose her?” asks Hall. “Shhhh quiet for a minute!” says Oates. A tattered black shape flies high overhead, cackling madly. Hall & Oates don’t move a muscle. “Okay,” says Oates, “I think it’s safe to go back to the boat.”