I watched it this weekend and didn't think it was all that good of a movie because they excluded a lot of things that conveyed the state of the world. Essentially in the movie they are just running from these people who have become cannibals. Scary redneck cannibals that want to eat people.
In the book there are several scenes that give the idea that these people aren't just cannibals. The final scene also has more closure.
The first scene is when the boy and the man are fleeing from a group of armed men. They run into a clearing where a human baby with its head cut off is roasting on a spit over a fire. The boy freaks the fuck out, the man tells him not to look. They run.
In another scene that ties into the first, the man and the boy are on the road and they are approached by a caravan of these cannibals. They hide in the weeds as it goes by and watch. It describes the people in the group not really as rednecks but more as flagellants or religious fanatics. They are mutilated and almost cult like from the description I remember. They are followed by a train of prisoners missing bodyparts, along with pregnant women (they are going to eat the babies) and sex slaves that are young boys. The effect is very eerie in the book but it gives sense that these people are not only a bunch of sick fucks but they have an almost cult-like arrangement where their way of life is torturing, raping and eating people. None of this is conveyed in the movie. I think it is important to include this because it gives an idea as to what the world has become and WHY the wife was so dead set on killing herself.
And last, the final scene in the movie just shows a man with his wife and kids meeting the boy. In the book there are no wife and kids. It is just the man and the book is very careful to describe him as someone who can take care of himself. He isn't like the boy's father, he has shotgun shells that have been reloaded, the ends filled with wax. Basically you get the sense that he is going to take care of the boy because he just doesn't fuck around, he kills people that fuck with him. The opposite of the boy's father who was only interested in running to safety.
Anyway, that is my take on it. A movie is rarely as good as the book. I was suprised that Mark Cuban was listed as an executive producer on it. Most likely that means he supported the film as an investor. I would have never supported the script without the inclusion of the scenes I detailed above. They are some of the most critical parts of the story, not only for conveying what the world has become but also ending the story.
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