Layman, I think that’s a rather harsh judgement on your part. A lot of great art challanges us, takes us to some dark places. The gospels would be pretty meaningless if we removed all the ‘downers’.
Scott, the passage you quote is a good one. Father and son carry the light because they still behave ethically. They have values, and are therefore valuable.
The father lives totally for his son, who is kind and gentle, despite the world he lives in. Father is a great paternal role model-- he has forged his son’s personality [practically the only other person the son has ever really known], and sacrifices himself daily for his son’s sake.
And this, in turn, is why the son is a genuinely good person: he’s following in his father’s footsteps.
Think about this: the boy could have laid down beside his father’s body and starved. He was tempted. But in his very darkest hour, he chose to get up and get going. He chose to try, and when he tried, he found help and hope for a better life.
I find that a powerful, positive message. In my own life, I frequently have to struggle against depression, against the desire to lay in the dark and wait for death. So I can identify with the boy, and the message-- never surrender, but never surrender your values, either-- is incredibly important, even inspirational.