Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Road; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2009-11-25

This article shared 4529 times since Wed Nov 25, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When the world goes boom, I want Viggo Mortensen to be my dad. Who's better to keep your spirits up in the hideous post-apocalyptic afterlife, as pictured in John Hillcoat's The Road, the adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy epic-length tome? Mortensen, as always, brings grave dimension and inner grace to an Everyman part he's mastered. This is perhaps the greatest of those roles. ( He's simply identified as The Father. ) Mortensen—who, in playing heroes light and dark, has effortlessly come to embody the best of Us—is soft spoken, loyal to a fault, brainy, literate, artistic, hunky, sensual, athletic and strong; he's the ultimate ideal of what a male heterosexual should be. The ladies and the gay men love him and pretty much everyone else does, too. I bet the guy even turns off his cell phone in movie theaters.

In The Road, Viggo's character the Father has one goal—to deliver his son ( newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee ) and himself to the seashore and, presumably, safety. Along the way, in this road movie that's really an anti-road movie, the duo will be tested by the dregs of humanity ( Cannibals! Murderers! Thieves! ) ; diminished by their quest for survival ( no medicine, little food ) ; and, for the Father, the haunted memories of life before the Big Boom with gorgeous, piano-playing Mother ( a terse Charlize Theron playing the realist to Mortensen's dream talker ) who is no longer on the scene.

Looking like a homeless pair, wandering through the ashes of the post-industrial world ( the film's eye-popping visuals are stunning but depressing ) , the Father does his best to instill hope and courage in the Son. "Keep carrying the fire inside you" he urges.

The film roams from episode to episode but never really seems to get anywhere. Part of this is because the kid—all big, wet eyes; pouty lower lip; and skittishness—doesn't seem to have learned much about survival, and the Father's overprotectiveness and anxiety become overwhelming. ( Plus, he starts getting sick. ) When the pair are reduced to putting their belongings in a cart, the kid can't even help pull it along.

So there's Mortensen, bearded and dressed in rags, pulling that damn cart—literally becoming Father Courage—a vivid anti-war symbol as surely as Brecht's famous heroine. The quest for spiritual fulfillment, inherent in the material and the lessons in the simplistic homilies imparted from Father to Son, the urge to apply metaphor to the miserable wasteland all fall into place for the audience with this image. Momentarily, one is moved but then you think, "Why can't the kid help him a little? Why is he whining!?!"

As the pair near their destination, the Father has worn himself out emotionally and physically, and the audience has been guided to transfer their identity from him to the kid, who has taken the dad's innate morality to heart. It's a noble effort on the part of the writer, as is the end, which, to put it kindly, is way too pat but underlines the father's "carry the fire" mantra.

With all that bleakness in that post-apocalyptic nightmare, you gotta give us hope and a chance at redemption, the audience insists—and, phony as that message might be ( or not, depending on your own inner mantra ) , The Road delivers on that promise.

Film notes:

—Hannah Free is back by popular demand Nov. 27-Dec. 3 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. One of the exceedingly rare lesbian-themed movies to get a feature release, Hannah Free, based on Claudia Allen's award-winning play and starring Sharon Gless in a commanding performance, the movie was shot in Chicago ( primarily at the home of Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim, who also executive-produced ) by a mostly female cast and crew. This is yet another opportunity to see Gless give a bravura performance in this moving personal lesbian romantic drama. See www.siskelfilmcenter.org or www.HannahFree.com .

—Get out your nun's habits, girls! It's time for the Music Box's annual Thanksgiving weekend treat—the return of Sing-A-Long Sound of Music. For the fifth year audiences will have the fun of watching the Rogers & Hammerstein musical classic ( 1965's Best Picture Oscar winner ) with Julie Andrews as Maria, the kindly singing nun-turned-nanny-turned-Baroness Von Trapp who flees the Nazis along with her chirping stepkids and stern but loving husband, Christopher Plummer as the baron. Costumes—including those made out of chintz drapes—are encouraged ( and, yes, there will be a costume contest and goodie bags for audience members as well ) . It plays Nov. 27-29, and advance tickets are available; see www.musicboxtheatre.com .

—Queer writer-director Todd Haynes, who helped kick start the new queer cinema movement with his controversial film Poison, has gone to create one fascinating genre-based movie after another. I think that Far From Heaven, his 2002 homage to Douglas Sirk's 1950s melodrama All That Heaven Allows, is his best work and should have gotten Julianne Moore a Best Actress Oscar. Moore plays the strapped in, upper-crust suburban wife of advertising executive Dennis Quaid, who is struggling with his homosexual urges. Enter a handsome African-American gardener ( played with great subtlety by Dennis Haysbert ) into this tale of stifled life in the burbs, '50s style, along with a host of wonderful supporting actors headed by the miraculous Patricia Clarkson—and you've got the elements of what I think are a genuine American classic; it's certainly in the queer top 10. The film's authentically recreated period sets and costumes, Edward Lachman's gorgeous cinematography and Elmer Bernstein's pitch-perfect final score ( dripping with pathos and heavy on the strings ) add to the powerful spell of this movie. An archival print will be shown. It creens Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State; see www.siskelfilmcenter.org .

—Fish Out of Water, Ky Dickens' entertaining and insightful documentary that takes on—and debunks—the seven Biblical passages that have often been interpreted as condemning homosexuality, will screen on Wed., Dec. 2, at Columbia College's Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash, at 7:30 p.m. Dickens, a local filmmaker who participated in the lively New Queer Cinema panel discussion as part of Reeling, and her crew will be present for a post-screening discussion. Fish Out of Water was Reeling's documentary centerpiece screening, and sold out the Music Box during the fest. This return engagement is a rare opportunity to catch the film on the big screen and—best—it's free! Call 312-369-8829 or visit www.colum.edu/criticalencounters.

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitytimes.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter Web site.


This article shared 4529 times since Wed Nov 25, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer actors, icons duet, Hunter Schafer, Oscars, Elizabeth Taylor 2024-03-01
- Queer actor Kal Penn is set to star in Trust Me, I'm a Doctor—a film that chronicles the final days of actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, whose overdose death in 2007 at age 39 sparked a tabloid ...


Gay News

Dorian Film Awards: 'All of Us Strangers' takes top prizes 2024-02-27
- February 26, 2024 - Los Angeles, Ca. - For its 15th Dorian Film Awards, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics fully embraced All of Us Strangers, writer-director Andrew Haigh's fantastical and tear-inducing tale of two ...


Gay News

SAG Awards honor Streisand, few LGBTQ+ actors 2024-02-25
- Queer entertainers made their mark—although not a major one—at the 2024 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, held Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. The event was live-streamed on Netflix for the first time. Indigenous and Two-Spirit actor ...


Gay News

WORLD Caribbean ruling, Pussy Riot, Russian raid, Canadian warning, anti-trans bar 2024-02-23
- The top court in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines dismissed a challenge to colonial-era anti-gay laws, Reuters reported. Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish—two gay men who had pushed to decriminalize ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kristen Stewart, Rock Hudson, Talia Keys, 'True Detective,' Marvel comic 2024-02-23
- At the Berlin Film Festival, Kristen Stewart defended her photo shoot for a Rolling Stone magazine cover that went viral and divided audiences on social-media platforms, per The Hollywood Reporter. "The existence of a female body ...


Gay News

Second Glance Productions hosts LGBTQupid Soiree 2024-02-16
- In celebration of Valentine's Day, Chicago based film and media production company Second Glance hosted The LBGTQupid Soiree. The event, which was focused on spinning attitudes on this particular day, was presented at The iO ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elton John, Hannah Gadsby, video game, Jennifer Lopez, queer thriller 2024-02-16
Video below - Sir Elton John has sold his Atlanta home and is now auctioning off more than 900 of his personal items that were kept in the 13,500-square-foot condo, The Daily Mail noted. The massive collection includes rare ...


Gay News

GALECA announces nominees for the Dorian Film Awards 2024-02-07
--From a press release - Feb. 5, 2024 - GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, consisting of over 500 entertainment critics, journalists and media icons, today announced the group's democratically chosen nominees for its 15th Dorian Film Awards. All of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Tom Holland, Bowen Yang, Pet Shop Boys, Mariah Carey 2024-02-02
- In the wake of Nigel Lythgoe exiting So You Think You Can Dance, queer personality JoJo Siwa is returning to the series, per Deadline. Siwa, who was a judge on season 17 of the Fox show, will replace Lythgoe, who left ...


Gay News

Leather Archives & Museum announces 2024 Fetish Film Forum 2024-01-27
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois—After a wildly successful inaugural year, including a 10-film series at the Leather Archives & Museum and a 5-film series at FACETS, the Leather Archives & Museum is thrilled to announce the continuation of Fetish ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sundance items, Green Day, 'Wednesday,' Queerties, 'The Wiz' 2024-01-26
- At the Sundance Film Festival, Jodie Foster told Variety that the $1.4-billion success of Barbie helps confirm that Hollywood no longer views women directors as too much of a risk. She said, "With a big success ...


Gay News

WORLD Arrest in Brazil, athlete dies, Ghana attack, World Economic Forum 2024-01-26
- A 30-year-old man was arrested in Brazil on Jan. 18 for his alleged role in the stabbing murder of prominent NYC art dealer Brent Sikkema, Gay City News reported. Authorities took Cuban resident Alejandro Triana Trevez ...


Gay News

OSCARS Gladstone, Domingo receive nominations 2024-01-23
- LGBTQ+ actors Lily Gladstone and Colman Domingo were among those receiving Oscar nominations when they were announced Jan. 23. Gladstone received a Best Actress nod for her role in the Martin Scorsese-directed Killers of the Flower ...


Gay News

Out truth-teller Jeff Hiller takes his act on the road 2024-01-21
- Jeff Hiller is an openly gay American storyteller who is bringing his act to the Midwest in February. He's making his way across the United States while filming the third season of HBO's Somebody Somewhere and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Laid,' 'Nimona,' Lukas Gage, Lil Nas X, Lily Gladstone, John Waters 2024-01-19
- Peacock has given a straight-to-series order to the comedy Laid, which is slated to feature queer actress Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Variety noted. Based on the Australian series of the same name, the ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.