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The Road trailer

Those who know the book will see things in this trailer that Cormac McCarthy never explicitly described. It’s my understanding, from the feature article in Esquire we posted a few days ago, that the movie doesn’t show them either. So before we judge how faithful the film will be to the novel, please read this retroactive/preemptive explanation:

Bob Weinstein rolls those trailers, each one assumes the predictable arc of a story compressed to its essence. There is a speed to them that the actual movie — which I saw before seeing the trailers — does not possess or seek to possess, an urgency that feels manufactured. The music is pulse-pounding and urgent, driven to create absurd expectations of action in a movie that quietly elicits worry about the relative friability of the invisible paths that exist between people and what they need. Still, every utterance, every cry for help or hand clasped across the mouth of the boy to suppress a sob, is a fair-enough emanation from the heart of the movie.

The odd thing is, the start of each trailer includes glimpses of a storm, panicky news footage, little puzzle pieces of the world before it ended. No one — not the director or the myriad producers, not the novelist or the screenwriter — had ever even hinted at how it happened, until this.

For someone who loves the book, for anyone who knows the story going in, this is a moment you hoped would never come. Why remind us of the reductive logic of cause and effect? Before the question can be asked, Weinstein stands up, offers his hand, and says, “Okay, we’re going with the first one.” He gives no rationale. And so it seems the metonymic references to the national news, to the weather, to presumed military conflicts laid in as a tonally quiet explanation of what is never known in book or movie, for now will stay in the trailer.

On the other side of the planet, at home in Australia, Hillcoat’s been hearing about these trailers. “We’re so conditioned by postapocalyptic films to be centered on a big event, and they become this high-concept thing. And here there’s this total absence, this negation of explanation. We have to stay with that. So yeah. That’s gonna be a challenge.”

So Hillcoat had no control over this trailer, and it may have little resemblance to how the apocalypse is handled in the actual movie.

Dimension Films and the Weinsteins have more than one goal here. They want to produce a work of art, and they want to sell tickets. Remember, these are the masters of marketing who managed to sell a holocaust massacre as a steamy love story in the trailers. That resulted in $83 million at the box-office, 5 Oscar nominations, and a major Oscar victory.

Ye of little faith, let’s not make snap judgments. Hang tight while the trailer does its job to ensure the movie sticks around in theaters long enough for us to see for ourselves.