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London Film Festival 2009: Top 10 must-sees (3)

The Road

Feature by Rob Carnevale

Film: The Road
What’s it about? A haunting thriller set in a bare, post-apocalyptic America, where a father (Viggo Mortensen) and son (Kodi McPhee) struggle to survive.

Why so essential? Based on the Pullitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy (who also wrote No Country For Old Men), The Road is said to feature another cracking performance from Mortensen – which could mark his last for a while as he takes a self-imposed hiatus. John Hillcoat directs with the same visual intensity he brought to Outback Western, The Proposition, albeit using a much more colour-free backdrop.

Pre-LFF buzz: Director John Hillcoat has performed an admirable job of bringing Cormac McCarthy’s novel to the screen as an intact and haunting tale – The Hollywood Reporter

A Serious Man

Film: A Serious Man
What’s it about? Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a Jewish university professor living an ordinary life in the ‘60s whose life suddenly beings to fall apart around him, beginning with his wife’s decision to leave him for reasons she can’t explain.

Why so essential? Joel and Ethan Coen have been on a roll since the Oscar-winning success of their comeback movie, No Country For Old Men. Their latest lacks the immediate star-studded appeal of Burn After Reading, but is said to mark a return to the more personal, playful style of their earliest work, and boasts a standout central performance from Michael Stuhlbarg.

Pre-LFF buzz: The always surprising Coen brothers have finally made a very serious movie with A Serious Man. It’s about God, man’s place in the world and the meaning of life, so naturally it’s one of their funnier movies – The Hollywood Reporter.

Next: The Informant! and Cold Souls