BUREAU FILM : ON THE ROAD
DIRECTED BY WALTER SALLES
STARRING : SAM RILEY, GARRETT HEDLUND,
KRISTEN STEWART & KIRSTEN DUNST
WITH CAMEOS BY COATI MUNDO, JAKE LA BOTZ
REVIEWED By Joshua A. TRILIEGI
A dangerously loyal adaption of a highly influential and often misunderstood novel
by an author who dearly loved his friends, jazz, people and places that were inspiring.
" The only ones for me are the mad ones... " is a quote from Jack Kerouac's novel
which was reviewed by a stand - in literature critic for The New York Times, who
lauded the work as a breakthrough moment in American Literature and a star was
born. This is the novel that inspired an entire generation to break free of the social
norms and simply be yourself, travel, make love, make music, love the common man,
write about your hearts desires and most of all, love your life for all it has to offer.
First of all, I am a biased reviewer in that I love Jack Kerouac, The Beats, Jazz,
the common man, people and places that are inspiring. I have read most of the
novels and published letters by the characters personified within this film: Jack
Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg & William Burroughs and have produced minor films that
were inspired by these American authors. That said, this is the greatest film adaption
of any Beat Film ever. One only hopes that the film makers will be able to put on the
screen a classic novel that so many of us have loved, honored and cherished our whole
lives. The film is nothing less than the most perfect adaption ever produced on Beats.
From the opening shot above a parking lot to the final scene on the streets of New York,
the film breaths life into an impossible novel that took decades to bring to the big screen.
Francis Ford Coppola executive produces [ that means he put up the dough ] so that the
director Walter Salles could bring this gem into existence and put himself into the major
arena of outstanding film adaption by directors who shall be honored for years to come.
The performances as far as I am concerned, are pitch perfect. Accents, performances,
style and character development as well as a commitment to realistic personifications
are entirely delivered with a loyalty to truth, legend and entertainment. This is dangerous.
This is exciting. This is Inspiring. This is On The Road and life after Neil Cassady will
never be the same again. For those not ' In The Know ' heres a primer. Have you ever
had a best friend ? Attractive, exciting, dangerous, from the wrong side of the tracks ?
Someone who showed you a side of life never seen within your own house, neighborhood,
city, state, country ? Well, Jack Kerouac did, he had several, but his old pal Neil took the
cake. Sure, he also had Allen Ginsberg, who would go onto write the famous poem that
was banned for indecency entitled, " HOWL ". These days it is taught as a major work of
art at places like West Point Academy. He also had William Burroughs famous for his
dangerously subversive novel entitled, " Naked Lunch " another Beat film which was also
brought to the big screen by Canadian director, David Cronenberg. Another dangerously
loyal film adaption that went way beyond the book into the realm of Burroughsian-Land.
Jack was probably the least eccentric of all the Beats, A French Catholic boy who loved
America dearly, hated suppressive government and wanted to express that in his work.
On The Road was his opus which sat around for years, influencing his friends as well as
informing his detractors and pissing off the squares who had no idea what he was talking
about most of the time. The film offers a straight ahead, lush and lovely offering - like
version of the written word that is bound to ruffle a few feathers, scare a few squares,
rattle a few cages and inspire more than a few too read the novels and break free once
again. Its a beautiful look at an oppressive time in America. These are the Mc Carthy
Years. the time of the black lists in Hollywood and New York. Eisenhower, Truman, etc...
The story and film itself is insulated by its own parameters of friendship, loyalty, love,
sex, drugs and endless searchings for kicks, kicks, kicks. Do you know the song lyric,
" Get your kicks on Route 66 ... " ? The popularity of goatee beards, black sunglasses,
black clothes, jazz music for white folks, coffeehouses, Bob Dylan, poetry, classic cars,
the popularity of Marijuana, traveling by bus, car and railway, heading West, the entire
hippy movement, rock and roll, tune in , turn on and drop out, as well as the writings of
folks who brought us : One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Easy Rider and This film here,
all of it stems from the pen, the mind, the man, the myth, the legend that is Jack Kerouac.
The canon of influence that ON THE ROAD and HOWL and NAKED LUNCH had is quite
immense. These folks were dealing with themes and taboos that have been broken wide
open : Mixed Race Couples, Gay Sex, Marijuana. In the nineteen fifties, you went to jail,
were beaten down or in some case were actually killed for being outside the system. Some
would argue that some of these restrictions have creeped up on us again. In any event,
this a an outstanding rendition of a classic American Novel that to be sure, Jack Kerouac
and his pals, gals and fans would be very proud of. Its the real thing. A word about the
production design. Flawless costumes, atmosphere, hand held camera work that captures
the mystery, mastery and misanthropy as well as the come downs from the heavy high of
being On The Road and having to come home, back down to Earth, back to the real world.
I am unsure what the average American viewer will think of all the sex, drugs and rock & roll.
There are plenty of inside jokes for beat fans, beat readers and those who actually lived through
this period of time. I will say that the performances are explicit, expressive and exciting as well
as entertaining. There is just the right amount of travel across America and into Mexico as well
as a balanced display of the price this type of life costed the participants as well as the friends
and relatives of those nearby. For Jack, it gave him life lessons, broke his heart, gave him a novel and taught him a thing or two about loyalty, friendship, love, freedom and the boundaries thereof. For beat fans this is a fabulous film, for the actors, maybe a nomination, for the producer and director, one can only hope for a few awards by early next year. Ya got my vote. Because the only ones for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to be saved, desirous of everything...
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MAGAZINES : MID FEB 2OI3 / MID JUNE 2013 / MID SEPT 2013