On the RoadHD Closed Captioning
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About the Movie
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Walter Salles (CENTRAL STATION, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES) and based on the iconic novel by Jack Kerouac, ON THE ROAD tells the timeless story of Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), a young writer whose life is shaken and ultimately redefined by the arrival of Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), a free-spirited, fearless, fast talking Westerner and his girl, Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Traveling cross-country, Sal and Dean venture out on a personal quest for freedom from the conformity and conservatism engulfing them in search of the unknown, themselves, and the pursuit of “it” -- the pure essence of experience. Seeking uncharted terrain and the last American frontier, the duo encounter an eclectic mix of men and women -- Bull (Viggo Mortensen), Camille (Kirsten Dunst), Carlo (Tom Sturridge), Jane (Amy Adams), Terry (Alice Braga), Galatéa (Elisabeth Moss) – each impacting their journey indelibly.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 141
- Fresh: 61
- Rotten: 80
- Average Rating: 5.6/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: If there were an On the Road museum, this could be the elaborate diorama at its center.
Fresh: A pleasant but undistinguished adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel about himself and his Beat friends in the late forties.
Fresh: While Kerouac's odyssey lacks conventional narrative or novelistic beats (though it comes with plenty of the other kind), the restlessness of the prose has its own cinematic allure.
Rotten: Walter Salles's warm but strangely staid adaptation of a piece of literature that was never meant to be tamed as cinema.
Pack up Walter Salles bags and send him on the road.
If you're looking for a gritty tale told about the inner workings of America in the 40s and 50s, this isn't it. The essence of Kerouac's novel seems to be lost on Salles. The film plays like teen fluff, similar to twilight, except for less abs and more drugs. There was a great chance here to have a wonderful beat revival, but it falls short. There are some redeeming factors, I thought that Tom Sturridge's portrayal of Carlo Marx was how I envisioned him to be. And at some points Garrett Hedlund gets the fast talking cerebral jabs in for Dean Moriarty. But neither make up for the mess of an adaptation that is this film. Sean Penn should have directed with help from Johnny Depps production company, especially after Penn's style with Into The Wild. Is it worth a rent?Well considering its the only adaptation out there right now, yes, but to be honest I will be waiting for Kill Your Darlings when it, hopefully, comes out this fall to get in my beat narratives.
A Pretty Good Adaptation
Sure, it's not perfect: Hedlund's Moriarty is much more grounded than the book's, the spirituality of the book has been left out (sadly), and there isn't very much context into Eisenhower-era America and how different these characters lives and ideas were to the time, but it's still one of the better adaptations of Kerouac's work put to film and certainly not an unwatchable film. I think it's easy for modern audiences to take what these characters do for granted considering everything in the film (and the book, for that matter) is relatively normal by today's standards, but that shows just how much of an impact this story, these characters, and the writers have had on American culture.
Difficult book to translate to the big screen but I thought Salles did a great job. Good performances all around.
- Genre: Drama
- Released: 2013
- © Copyright MK2 – Film4 – Videofilmes – France 2 Cinema Depot legal 2012