Thursday, 14 March 2013

On the Road.

It’s 1947 a struggling young writer Jack Kerouac has his life shaken and ultimately redefined when he meet’s one Neal Cassady a free-spirited, fearless, fast-talking Westerner and his girl, Marylou.  All three set out on a road-trip of self-discovery across America. It was this journey that developed the template for the middle class hippy life style and a book that made Kerouac famous. 

After watching Walter Salles's film of the same name I now realise why I only ever reached page 71 of Jack Kerouac's novel of ‘sex, jazz and freedom’ On the Road (2012). The Characters in Kerouac's mind numbing novel are collectively described as “riding the rails, hitching lifts, driving borrowed cars at a crazy hundred miles per hour. Wild parties, girls and drink and drugs. Uncertainty, loneliness and dreams synthesized by bop” More akin to a rootless bunch of criminal drifters!! These people are essentially dull and boring whom, I’m afraid, will not evoke an ounce of your empathy.

Kerouac with Neal Cassady.

The three main characters in the story are Sal Paradise a young writer played by the dreary as dishwater Sam Riley, put to better use in Control (2007) where he played Ian Curtis the singer of the late 1970’s English band Joy Division and in Brighton Rock (2010) where he portrays Pinkie, a role originally played by Richard Attenborough in the 1947 adaptation of Graham Greens novel. Secondly Dean Moriarty, a lazy feckless individual played with some conviction by Garrett Hedlund and lastly Moriarty's girlfriend Marylou portrayed by a very under-utilized Kristen Stewart (The Runaways 2010, Snow White and the Huntsman 2012)


It a story I felt I should have really liked, it’s influence is seen in a whole load of road movies including Easy Rider (1969) and of course Salles’s far more rewarding film The Motor Cycle Diaries (2004) about a journey taken by pre-revolutionary Ernesto Guevara. It has been said that On the Road was unfilmable; I just don’t think the story was interesting enough to film. Like the character’s, the movie loves itself too much but does not encourage the viewing public to do like wise.   

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