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As does Kerouac's novel, the film describes the author's mental and physical deterioration resulting from drinking in 1959-1960.. It is set and filmed in Big Sur, Monterrey County, and San Francisco. The film shows Kerouac receiving a great deal of publicity and adulation that he was unable to handle following the publication of "On the Road". Kerouac's friend, Lawrence Ferlinghetti,, offers him the use of his cabin on Big Sur, hoping that nature and isolation will help Kerouac find peace and enable him to write. Instead, Kerouac quickly becomes bored and discontented while drinking heavily. He heads to North Beach to catch up with his friends, continuing to drink. The movie alternates between scenes in San Francisco and scenes at Big Sur. Kerouac becomes involved with Billie Dabney, the mistress of his friend, Neal Cassady, who has a young son, Elliott. As was the pattern of his life, Kerouac proves unable to commit to Billie. "You withhold your love", Billie tells him.
Most of the movie is recounted in a voice-over with Kerouac's rhythmic, ranting voice from "Big Sur" accompanying the scenes from the movie. While Kerouac's language is effective, the voice-overs slow the pace of the movie.Read more ›
“Big Sur” chronicles Kerouac’s ever-so-slightly fictionalized account of his disintegration. After fame and success sweeps over Kerouac as “King of the Beats” and tries to live up to the reputation with a party in every town, or is it a binge? He wants an escape from those pressures and friend Lawrence Ferlinghetti volunteers his rustic cabin at Big Sur. Once there Kerouac faces only himself and soon becomes bored and heads back to San Francisco, friends, acolytes, parties and Neal Cassady. Cassady hooks him up with his mistress Billie who has a son, soon to Cassady’s chagrin Kerouac and Billie are having an affair.
“Big Sur” swings back and forth between action in San Francisco and continued retreats to Big Sur, but Kerouac keeps pulling people up to the cabin in an effort to avoid confronting himself and his deteriorating condition.
The movie has a cigarette tinged, half full bottles of whiskey feel (although the bottles are half full they never seem to empty). “Big Sur” is like a home movie of the beat generation with narration. The narration, straight from “Big Sur” starts to work like the narration in “Apocalypse Now,” it becomes a character in the movie, there’s even one scene that seems very reminiscent of “Apocalypse” whether that is intentional or not is anybody’s guess.
The casting of “Big Sur” seems right on, while there are no extended scenes of action or dialog, the actors look like the people they’re supposed to be and director Michael Polish gets a lot of acting from his cast in emotion.Read more ›
If you're a fan of Kerouac, the book itself or movies about alcoholics self-destructing (I know a happy theme to be sure) you'll appreciate the movie.
The only way a book about such a heavy topic worked was because it was filled with Kerouac's amazing prose and he provided the reader insights into alcoholism and the self-loathing that comes with the disorder. Much of the story takes place in Kerouac's head. Thankfully the director understood this and preserved that essential part of the book by including passages from the book narrated by the actor playing Kerouac in the film.
The cinematography is outstanding and the performances by the actors were all very well done.
I definitely liked the movie both in and of itself and as an adaptation of a beloved book.
As to BIG SUR, it is a beautifully photographed and scored and narrated by Jean-Marc Barr as Kerouac movie. I enjoyed it immensely. Is it perfect? No. The actor playing Kerouac is, I believe, bald. In fitting him with a wig to play Kerouac I wish they'd fitted him with more of it!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
stana had a cameo not a real role
so you becket fans can stop reading and dont waste time with this stinker
at least she did not look as horrible as they made her... Read more
“Big Sur” (2013), based on the 1962 book by the enigmatic Jack Kerouac, details the author’s three retreats to a friend’s cabin in the magnificent eponymous location a hundred... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Wuchak
movie interesting from an historical perspective. that said, however, it played like a lot of people who smoke weed. it went on and on, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, saying little.Published 9 months ago by seymour1442
I'm giving this film five stars. If you suffered through the 'On the Road' debacle from a few years back (see my review), then you may cringe (as I did at first) when discovering... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
A little depressing, but it is what it is. You probably should know something about these guys prior to watching this or you will be wondering wtf. Read morePublished 13 months ago by John McCarroll
A well-made esoteric film, 3 1/2 stars. Interesting to me because I was born in the LA area of southern CA, Later fell in love with the Big Sur area & lived in the Monterey area... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Philos