In On the Road, Walter Salles’ reverent, almost painfully literal adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s birth-of-the-Beat-spirit novel, the characters keep getting high on one thing or another: drugs, twisty jazz dancing, unbridled sex, poetic streams of language. On a car ride to nowhere, Sal (Sam Riley), the Kerouac figure, gets naked with Dean (Garrett Hedlund), the life-force stud narcissist modeled after Neal Cassady, and Marylou (Kristen Stewart), Dean’s naively game ex-wife. The odd thing about the movie, which is set in the late ’40s and ’50s, is that even as we’re observing all of this mad sensual activity, it’s staged with a kind of museum-piece diligence. The best thing here is Hedlund’s wildly cracked acting as Dean, whose hunger for life — erotic, insatiable, destructive — kindles a fire that will light the way to a new era. Yet what Salles doesn’t conjure is the rapture of Kerouac’s bohemian romanticism. Wthout it, On the Road is a remote experience, all reason and no rhyme. B-
'ROAD' TRIP Jack Kerouac's novel finally comes to life in this star-studded film
Genre: Drama; Starring: Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund, Viggo Mortensen, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Terrence Howard, Elisabeth Moss; Director: Walter Salles; Release Date Wide: 12/21/2012; Runtime (in minutes): 123; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: MK2
Posted January 17 2015 — 5:04 PM EST
- Adrianne Palicki talks 'Agents of SHIELD' and Bobbi: 'a really interesting struggle for her'
- 'Justified': Jere Burns on Mikey's loyalty and THAT scene
- 'Being Mary Jane' director on portraying racism on TV
- 'Finding Carter' returns with its best hour yet
- 'Cougar Town' series finale: How the cul-de-sac crew said goodbye
- Casting Net: Hugh Jackman in 'Apostle Paul,' Stephen Amell in 'TMNT 2'
- Joni Mitchell hospitalized: Report
- Woe-woe-woe: 23 signature sad songs of the past 20 years
- Jailbird watching: 13 memorable movie prisoners
- Will Ferrell's 15 greatest movie creations
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus in full bloom: New EW portraits
- 'Grey's Anatomy': 10 years, 20 defining moments
- Alicia, Nicki & Bey, Brooke Shields, Helen & Katie and More!