On the Road

"OK"

On the Road Review


Despite the skill behind and in front of the camera, a badly constructed script flattens this film version of Jack Kerouac's iconic 1957 novel. It's beautifully shot and sharply played by the starry ensemble cast, but the repetitive structure leaves the film with no forward momentum. Instead of a voyage of discovery, it feels like a lot of random, pointless wandering.

Thinly autobiographical, the story centres on the young New York writer Sal (Riley). He's drawn to the charismatic Dean (Moriarty), a charming rogue who's married to 16-year-old Marylou (Stewart) but is having an affair with Camille (Dunst) while seducing every other woman he meets. And quite a few men as well, including Sal's friend Carlo (Sturridge). All of them are writers and artists, hanging out in clouds of hash smoke as they drive back and forth across America in search of something to write about.

Of course, Sal finds this in Dean as their friendship ebbs and flows over several years. Since this is essentially Sal's story, it's rather odd that the film abandons him from time to time to follow someone else, leaping jarringly into another situation, often marked by Dean's sudden reappearance after yet another bit of roaming. So while we understand how everyone is held in Dean's magnetic orbit, we can't quite see the point of it all. Sal may be obsessed with his thoughts of Dean, but he seems strangely willing to abandon him time and time again. There isn't nearly enough of the scene-stealing costars like Mortensen, Adams and Buscemi. And frankly, it should be a crime to waste Moss (of Mad Men fame) in such a fragmented role.

Hedlund's performance is exactly what the film needs: a sexy central figure we are interested in following. And Riley gives a nicely thoughtful turn as Sal, although he only half-heartedly sparks with the low-energy Stewart. His scenes with Braga's migrant worker are much sexier. Meanwhile, the film looks gorgeous, with warm, sensual photography that captures the rhythms of this Bohemian lifestyle. So when we start to feel like the filmmakers are trying to moralise about sex and drugs, the whole movie starts to feel choppy and unfocussed.

Rich Cline



On the Road

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $8.8M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: IFC Films/Sundance Selects

Production compaines: SPAD Films, MK2 Productions, Film Four International, Canal+, MK2 Production, American Zoetrope, Vanguard Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 80

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Charles Gillibert, Nathanael Karmitz, Rebecca Yeldham

Starring: as Marylou, as Dean Moriarty, as Sal Paradise, as Camille, as Carlo Marx, as Old Bull Lee, as Jane, as Terry, as Ed Dunkel, as Galatea Dunkel, Giovanna Zacarías as Puta Loca Roja, as Walter

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.