Based upon the Novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac, On the Road finally will see a release after having been in-the-making for many years now. Filmed in Montreal and having premiered at TIFF 2012, the Film has some deep Canadian roots, especially considering that the Author himself, portrayed here by Sam Riley (Control) as his Alter-Ego Sal Paradise, was born to French-Canadian Parents.
The Story follows the wild and reckless Friendship between Sal and fellow Author Neal Cassady‘s Alter-Ego Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund). The two travel coast-to-coast without much money at all as Dean goes from one Lover, Marylou (Kristen Stewart), to another in Camille (Kirsten Dunst), while Sal is an aspiring young Writer, hungry for inspiration as he works towards completing a Novel. Set in the late ’40s, the two Friends meet several others along their Journey who would eventually go on to achieve greatness including Poet Allen Ginsberg, known as Alter-Ego Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge). Fueled by Freedom, Alcohol, Drugs, Jazz and Sex – many varieties of the latter actually – we see these two young Men together inseparably and also drifting apart as life pulls them in separate directions.
Like the cadence and unpredictability of Jazz, Director Walter Salles captures beautifully the spontaneity of his Characters. Throughout this wild ride, we grow along the way with Sal and Dean, also feeling remorse for their mistakes. Shining brightest of all here is Hedlund who bares his soul finally after showing some flashes in brilliance in Tron 3D and Country Strong (yes, I sat through both with high hopes!), absolutely irresistible at every turn, humanizing someone so tragically flawed and perhaps, unlikeable. I walked away not feeling judgmental, but more sympathetic – the mark of a strong performance. Riley also holds his own amongst an immensely talented Ensemble, as does Sturridge as the hopelessly lovelorn Ginsberg. Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst regretfully are under-utilized and under-written, as a result falling flat.
Alliance Films release On the Road in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal on January 18, 2013 and opens in Ottawa on February 15, 2013, giving Moviegoers an edgier alternative.
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