On the Road
Taglines: The best teacher is experience.
On The Road tells the provocative story of Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), a young writer whose life is shaken and ultimately redefined by the arrival of Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), a free-spirited, fearless, fast talking Westerner and his girl, Marylou (Kristen Stewart).
Traveling cross-country, Sal and Dean venture out on a personal quest for freedom from the conformity and conservatism engulfing them in search of the unknown, themselves, and the pursuit of “it” — the pure essence of experience. Seeking unchartered terrain and the last American frontier, the duo encounter an eclectic mix of men and women — Bull (Viggo Mortensen), Camille (Kirsten Dunst), Carlo (Tom Sturridge), Jane (Amy Adams), Terry (Alice Braga), Galatéa (Elisabeth Moss) – each impacting their journey indelibly.
On the Road (French: Sur la route) is a French adventure drama film directed by Walter Salles. It is an adaptation of the 1957 novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Alice Braga, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, and Viggo Mortensen. The executive producer was Francis Ford Coppola. Filming began on August 4, 2010, in Montreal, Quebec, with a $25 million budget.
The story is based on the years Kerouac spent travelling the United States in the late 1940s with his friend Neal Cassady and several other figures who would go on to fame in their own right, including William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
About the Story
The film begins in 1947 with Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) walking on a road before a truck stops and lets him on; he makes quick friends and jokes around with the men in the back of the truck. Five months earlier, on the day his father is buried, his friend Chad brings him to meet Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and his 16-year-old wife Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Sal befriends Dean, smoking marijuana with him and visiting a jazz nightclub where they meet saxophonist Walter (Terrence Howard), who also becomes friends with them. Dean gets a job as a chauffeur (having previously been a car thief). Sal teaches Dean how to write before another friend, Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge) leaves with Dean for Denver.
After much contemplation, writer’s block and a solemn visit to his father’s grave, Sal decides to join his friends in Denver and embarks on the road for the first time. There, Sal meets Camille (Kirsten Dunst) an art college student for whom Dean is divorcing Marylou. Later that evening Carlo tells Sal that he thinks he might be gay and that he plans to travel to Africa. Carlo and Dean have also started an affair. Carlo, Sal, Camille and Dean then visit a bar where Dean plays the song “I’ve Got the World on a String” on the jukebox and Camille bonds with Sal.
Sal leaves aboard a bus and meets Terry (Alice Braga). The two travel to California where Terry works on cotton fields with her family while Sal helps. Sal and Terry have a brief affair before Sal, realising that he isn’t made to work in the fields, heads back home.
A year later 1948, Dean, Marylou and Ed Dunkel (Danny Morgan) arrive at Sal’s family’s home in North Carolina, having left Ed’s wife Galatea (Elisabeth Moss) with Old Bull Lee (Viggo Mortensen) in Louisiana. The trio eat dinner together and the next day drive back to New York with Sal’s mother. The gang see in the New Year at Carlo’s place. Dean convinces Sal to partake in a threesome with him and Marylou. He starts kissing Marylou, but gets nervous and tells Dean to go to the kitchen. Following this, Dean and Marylou have sex while Sal listens in the other room.
The next day, they ride off to California, while they leave Ed at Bull’s. When they arrive there, Sal and Marylou rent a room as Dean drives to Camille’s place. Marylou and Sal have sex in their apartment the next morning. She then leaves to go back to her Sailor fiancé in Denver and Sal goes over to visit Dean and Camille, who by now have two children together. Sal and Dean visit a nightclub, leaving Camille alone to deal with the children. When they return home, she kicks Dean out.
The two agree to go to Denver to find Dean’s father and then to New York. Having no luck finding Dean’s father, they travel back to New York with a tall thin salesman (Steve Buscemi) who Dean tries to get money from in exchange for sex. Dean has sex with the man which gives him and Sal enough money to get where they need to go.
On the Road
Directed by: Walter Salles
Starring: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Alice Braga, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen
Screenplay by: Jose Rivera
Production Design by: Carlos Conti
Cinematography by: Eric Gautier
Film Editing by: François Gédigier
Costume Design by: Danny Glicker
Music by: Gustavo Santaolalla
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, drug use and language.
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: December 21, 2012