And I was right. Now, I don't hate the film at all. It is quite interesting and filled with really fantastic performances by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee and the Father and Son. Visually, the Director and Cinematographer captured the essence of McCarthy's book. This is a bleak wasteland- what one would imagine hell looks like. The violence and tension are there, particularly during the scene where the Father and Son uncover the horror hiding in the cellar, a section of the book that gave me heart palpitations.
What is missing is the heart of the novel. It is so hard to translate these feelings onto film. Director John Hillcoat certainly tries. We see the boy upset with his Father for not helping fellow travelers. We see the Father agonize over whether or not to kill his son. We see the boy praying, and not being quite sure what that means. And these scenes provoke emotion, but if you have read the book they just seem to fall flat, which is usually the trouble with screen adaptations. With few exceptions (Silence of the Lambs, the original TV Salem's Lot) the film never equals or surpasses the novel. I might have really loved this film had I never read the novel. As it is, I just have to say it was OK. I did enjoy hearing McCarthy's prose read by Mortensen, and Robert Duvall has an incredible, Oscar worthy cameo.