The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Note: I first saw "The Road" in September at the Toronto Film Festival, as one of eight films I saw in three days. I wrote a draft of a review at the time and sent it. That review accidentally found its way into sight in October, long before the film was scheduled to open. I yanked it offline as quickly as I could.
I saw the movie a second time at a press screening on Oct. 27 in Chicago. I see festival films again whenever I have the chance. I find the second viewing makes the good ones better, and the bad ones worse. Such is the case with "The Road."
"The Road" evokes the images and the characters of Cormac McCarthy's novel. It is powerful, but for me lacks the same core of emotional feeling. I'm not sure this is any fault of the filmmakers. The novel itself would not be successful if it were limited to its characters and images. Its effect comes above all through McCarthy's prose. It is the same with all of McCarthy's work, but especially this one, because his dialogue is so restrained, less baroque than usual.
The story is straightforward: America has been devastated. Habitations have been destroyed or abandoned, vegetation is dying, crops have failed, the infrastructure of civilization has disappeared. This has happened in such recent memory that even The Boy, so young, was born into a healthy world. No reason is given for this destruction, perhaps because no reason would be adequate. McCarthy evokes the general apprehension of post-9/11. The Boy and The Man make their way toward the sea, perhaps for no better reason than that sea has always been the direction of hope in this country.