You can finally see the best sci-fi film of the year starting Nov. 25

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

We really want to see The Road, but Dimension Films isn't making it easy. They've delayed and rescheduled it for more than a year, which we all know is usually a sign that a film's in trouble. Director John Hillcoat tried to convince us it was just a case of the movie studio being overeager, though:

"They were always way over-optimistic about their dates," Hillcoat said. "I always said to everyone the first one can't be done. Sometimes people are over-optimistic. I was being a realist. We missed that date, and we knew it had to be released in the fall, so it slid into this year."

That sounds like hedging to us, but whatever. The important point is, The Road has an actual release date now: Nov. 25. That's a pretty good date, too, because it puts the film squarely in the holiday season, and it's traditionally the best time to get a film in front of Oscar voters. Troubled or brilliant, we're dying to see this for a bunch of reasons:

♦It's based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer-winning best-seller.
♦It's got a great cast, headlined by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
♦It's a serious sci-fi movie in an era of superheroes and cannibalistic cheerleaders.
♦Hillcoat makes it sound pretty amazing.

The movie follows the journey of an unnamed father (Mortensen) and his young son (Smit-McPhee) as they attempt to survive a post-apocalyptic world.

On the bright side, The Road's move to November could be a sign of the studio's faith in its chances for an Oscar. "I try not to think about it," Hillcoat told reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival. "I got the book when it was unpublished and before the Coens did No Country. So when No Country came out and [The Road] won the Pulitzer, there was a lot of weight on my shoulder."

To capture all of The Road's doom and gloom, Hillcoat turned to modern-day tragedies for inspiration. "The main thing we referenced is stuff that's already happened, as opposed to a fantasy world," says Hillcoat. "I found that a lot of post-apocalyptic stuff was all about the big event. There's something about the book that had this incredible authenticity to it that made it even more than 'this is what it could be like.' A lot of that is from Cormac's research. It's simple things, like pushing the shopping cart full of their own possessions. That's people living on the street, so it was really taking that lead and with the production designer, instead of just looking at other post-apocalyptic films, we ended up going to documentaries and photos of actual apocalypses or ones that didn't go global. Within that small area, it's the equivalent, so we looked at Hiroshima, Katrina and 9/11."

Bringing an acclaimed novel to the big screen is always tricky, so Hillcoat was smart in remaining as faithful to the novel as possible. "That to me was the main goal," Hillcoat said. "In the end it also saves the film, too, because overall, everyone involved knew we had to be faithful to the book. It struck such a deep chord, and he's such an amazing writer, that it allowed us to be able to make this film."