On the Road Reviews
This film is less than the sum of its parts. In his effort to get the feeling of the Beat Generation, director Walter Salles has some quick edits and some free-wheeling music and some of the lines lifted from Kerouac's novel - all cinematic tricks that should work, but yet there's still something staid about this film. Perhaps it's the gravelly voiced Garrett Hedlund, who seems more focused on the image of Sal than the character, or perhaps it's the hackneyed shoe-horn of a script. Or perhaps Kerouac was never meant to be adapted.
Overall, it was worth a shot, but this is one book-to-film adaptation that missed the mark.
One of those films that left me thinking about it long after the lights went off. And the more I did - the more I realized just how good it is.
The acting in here is pretty good. Though the standout for me is really Kristen Stewart, who has been noticeably improving in this department since she's been taking more challenging roles.
There is a duality to these guys' life, particularly Dean's. The adventures are wild and crazy, sometimes even enviable. But it is debatable if Dean is ever actually really happy. Sal seems to have more of a balance. He knows how to have fun (if drugs and one-night stands are your thing) but he also knows how to adjust to regular society and be a decent human being. But that is probably why he, and everyone else, is so drawn to a guy like Dean. Dean has no limits and cares for no one really but himself, when it comes down to it. He comes and goes when he wants to. It's a good character study because you just wonder how Dean has made it all this time without contracting something. But I honestly didn't really care for these characters too much.
An okay road trip movie about a bunch of hedonistic 20-somethings.