It may be true that urban blight and environmental catastrophe are proximate enough that it is not necessary to make them up, but it is also fair to say that the majority of The Road’s audience knows of devastation and dereliction largely through their mediation in photography and film. Extreme poverty and despoliation are both close at hand and far away, present largely as images of realities held at bay by structural inequality and diligent policing. From the tinted window of the SUV it may be possible to glimpse social collapse between home and the mall, but this reality is assuredly kept at safe distance, for the time being, by the place-holding technologies of the property-owning classes. In many ways, the fears The Road plays upon are less the terrors of nuclear or environmental cataclysm and more related to the more prosaic horror of homelessness and destitution. Being left literally on the road and in the neighborhood rather than cruising through it is what is really frightening.
Chiarella, Tom (2009) ‘The Most Important Movie of the Year’ Esquire June: 87-91.
“For all the spectacle of CGI,” he [Hillcoat] said, “there’s something alien and unreal about that domain, like a videogame. It’s enjoyable for that fantasy aspect, but the book felt so much more real.”
Hillcoat and his team spent several months in preproduction matching scenes from the book to locations in states including Pennsylvania, Oregon and Louisiana.
Production designer Chris Kennedy scouted a number of locations in post-Katrina New Orleans, including the devastated neighborhood pictured above. He also found Pennsylvania to be a treasure trove of desolate settings. “The state has depressed socioeconomic situations in suburbs like Braddock and Keysport and devastated mining areas with coal piles and fly-ash piles that looked like a blackened landscape,” Kennedy said in a statement.
An 8-mile stretch of abandoned Pennsylvania freeway outside Pittsburgh
served as the setting for several sequences. Throughout the 60-day shoot,
cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe worked hard to render a