Masterpieces and oddities: Cormac McCarthy’s bleak, bold and batty films

From the exemplary adaptation of No Country for Old Men to the offbeat screenplay for The Counselor, McCarthy’s sparse style lent itself to cinemaGet our weekend culture and lifestyle emailThe late and great Cormac McCarthy’s most famous novel is probably The Road, a hauntingly well-written and shattering story of a father and son trekking across a lawless America, wiped out by an unspecified cataclysmic event.

Much has been made of the author’s sparse style, which combines poetic and surreal descriptions with lithe plotting and bleakly surreal settings: an appealing combination for a motion picture adaptation.The Australian director John Hillcoat brought it to the screen in 2009 with a film that impressively translates the book’s heaving sense of sadness, using an anemic palette to evoke the look of a dying, inconsolable world, memorably navigated by Viggo Mortensen (billed as “the Man”) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (“the Boy…

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