TIFF is now upon us and it is now time for my first review of the festival!
On the Road is an adaptation of the classic novel by Jack Kerouac. The film focuses on Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), who is an aspiring writer and the narrator of the film. The narration of the film is in Kerouac's beat-poetry style, which is also emphasized by the film's jazzy soundtrack.
As the title suggests, the film is about Sal's “life on the road,” which sees him hitchhiking to take odd jobs, as well as taking road trips with his friend Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and Dean's lover/ex-wife Marylou (Kristin Stewart). The film documents their carefree life, which includes a lot of sex, drugs, and poetry.
While the film mostly centres around these three main characters, many familiar faces pop up throughout the film. Kirsten Dunst has a small role in the film as Dean's wife Camille, who is forced to put-up with Dean's hedonism. Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams show up for an extended sequence in the middle of the film, as friends of Sal and Dean. Finally, I should also note that Steve Buscemi makes a brief cameo in the film that is sure open your eyes.
As for the main cast of the film, I have to say that Sam Riley does have a very convincing “Beat Generation” persona, complete with gravely voice. Garrett Hedlund is the subject of most of the drama in the film, as he eventually has to pay the price for his carefree lifestyle. As for Kristen Stewart, I would say that, at the very least, this role succeeds in erasing her persona of Bella from the Twilight films. Marylou is a very promiscuous character and Stewart even shows some skin in a number of scenes. In some ways, this role is a bit badly timed, in light of her recent personal issues.
If there's any major criticism I have about the film, it's that it runs a little long for my liking. There are a couple moments in which I thought that the plot was beginning to wrap-up (which included a couple cuts to black), however the film would continue for another half hour or so. While it didn't hurt my experience with the film too much, my patience was starting to wear thin towards the end.
Overall, I would say that On the Road was a decent enough film.
8 | LIKED IT