Wednesday, January 9, 2013
ON THE ROAD MEANDERED AIMLESSLY by Pamela Powell
Did you read On the Road by Jack Kerouac? I did not. Don't get me wrong, I attempted to read it on several occasions but frequently my mind wandered while reading the wandering prose to which I then processed very little information. I had hoped the movie adaptation might shed a little light on the book for me. It did, but had I not been reviewing the movie, I would have joined the other half of the theater that got up and walked out and stayed out. OK, maybe not half, but a notable many. The premise of the movie is that of a young writer named Sal (Sam Riley) who befriends Dean (Garrett Hedlund) and sometimes together and sometimes apart, they journey across the US. Why do they do this? I'm not sure. I guess just for the sake of the journey. Life is just that; a journey. Who's life has a definitive purpose? Not many. Who's life just goes and meanders, reacting to whatever stimuli are placed before us? Many. So I guess this was a reflection of life.
Sal's life was one of not many boundaries. Dean's life was one with no boundaries. Marylou (Kristen Stuart), a teen who married Dean, tagged along for a wild ride. While traveling, via hitchhiking or driving, the crew occasionally picked up others. We learned bits and pieces of each of the three main characters in this movie while they drank, smoked, enjoyed some pot, ok a lot of pot, and had a lot of sex. A lot of sex. Straight sex. Menage a trois. Gay sex. Sex. Pot. Drinking. Oh and a little drug usage. Not a care in the world for Sal except to write about what he saw and experienced. Frequently, I thought that Sal was more of an observer in his own life than that of a participant. In any case, he wrote on note pads with his stubby little pencil for the entire 2 or 3 year period.
As a viewer of this movie, I can't say I was totally entertained or enthralled with the story at hand. As I stated before, it was a meandering road of life with little focus. Everyone always went full circle, sometimes spinning in circles before getting back on some sort of a convoluted path. I was definitely an observer with little involvement or empathy for any of the characters. This lack of identification with the characters accomplished one thing: the 2 hour 4 minute movie seemed much longer. I don't want to take away from what these actors did, however. Stuart, Hedlund, and Riley were very good. They portrayed the characters in the script. I quite honestly don't usually like Kristen Stuart in her roles, but she played the wild teen quite well. Hedlund was the perfect lost soul in search of something to make him happy and never quite finding it. Riley was the benign onlooker and casual participant.
Although this was not my type of movie, it most definitely made a statement to me. It was a statement that very few lives have complete focus and direction.
I welcome comments! I would love to hear from people who have read the book as well!