Yesterday, as I’m sure you are all aware (and those of you possessing male genitalia who failed to notice will doubtlessly and painfully have been made to realise by now) was Valentine’s Day. My TLA and I had already celebrated the fact by watching other people undress at The Farmhouse’s burlesque night, what with having had enough of the sight of each other naked.
On the actual VD itself we wondered what non-clichéd things we could do. We considered the newly opened bowling alley during the day but balked at the prices and intimacy of the lanes. I wasn’t keen on chavette’s lolling at my dress sense which had turned out somewhat adventurous in my half-awakened state that morning (imagine traffic lights humping at Woodstock) and my inability to roll anything that isn’t a fag. So we opted instead for quality alone time along with about a hundred others at the Gulbenkian Cinema.
The film we chose (over predictably placed rom-com ‘It’s Complicated’) was post-apocalyptic drama The Road, with attention turned for once not on re-building the planet but on a father’s (Viggo Mortensen) decline as he struggles to protect his son from dangers such as cannibals, falling trees, starvation and shopping trolleys with gammy wheels. During the journey we glimpse snatches of LBA (not Little Big Adventure, the cute but irritating game featuring an impossible to control peanut-headed ninja, but Life Before Apocalypse) with disinterested and improbably attractive wife & mother (Charlize Theron), who decides she’s had enough of waiting to be crushed by a tree and buggers off into the forest one day, perhaps to speed up the process.
The depictions of those still wandering the dreary, colour-drained earth are genuinely disturbing, divided into the hunters and the hunted. Or the Good Guys and the Bad Guys for the sake of slack-jawed Boy’s purposes. You feel for father and son as every day is a struggle for food and survival. Even sugar-conscious parents must inwardly cheer when Father manages to extract a can of coke from a rusting vending machine. The Bad Guys could easily have been portrayed as futuristic Mad Max-ers with bionic limbs and questionable mullets but by avoiding these clichés director John Hillcoat portrays a far more realistic, and therefore more chilling, vision of the not-too-distant future.
Emerging from the Gulb and the harrowing scenes we had witnessed therein, we embarked on a similar journey to Father & Boy, with London Road Estate being our goal and fraught with just as much danger, I’d guess. My whining about the cold replacing the Boy’s cries of “Papa! Papa! Come look at my reflection!”, Joe having to carry the bulk of the load (cinema kiosk leftovers) and fighting off hungry passers-by (i.e. drunk revellers in search of Kebab-ery). I am pleased to conclude that our bond remains intact my the process and we didn’t resort to eating people to get to our final destination.