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3.2 out of 5 stars
On the Road [Blu-ray]
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
What a let down. This is some sort of re-cut version, not the theatrical version that I seen. Censored and re-cut. Hopefully there will be an unrated version released. I feel cheated. Not recommended.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
There is bound to be a generational gap in the audience response to Walter Salles' and Jose Rivera's adaptation of Jack Kerouac's immensely important book ON THE ROAD, a story about the 'first beatnik' who in the aftermath of WW II found the world not only confusing but senseless, and his way of trying to find his place as a writer spawned his book that is in many ways a diary of three years of living on the lam, penniless except for occasional odd jobs to finance gas, food and crash pads. It is a Whitmanesque song of independence and yearning for meaning and love and acceptance and Salles and Rivera, with considerable assistance from the musical score by Gustavo Santaolalla and the cinematography of Eric Gautier.

The young unfocused writer Sal Paradise/Jack Kerouac (Sam Riley)is joined by free-spirited Dean Moriarty/Neal Cassady (Garrett Hedlund in a magnificently realised portrayal) and his girl, Marylou/Luanne Henderson (Kristen Stewart) and Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsberg (Tom Sturridge)as they travel across the USA at breakneck speed, stopping in Denver and New York and other places trying to understand themselves and each other. They encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly: Old Bull Lee/William S. Burroughs (Viggo Mortensen) and other less well known but important to the road trip played by such fine actors as Steve Buscemi, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Danny Morgan and many more. The characters encounter and deal with drug abuse, sexual orgies, the entire spectrum of sexuality, marriage and children and divorce and above all the joys of freedom of place, of sex, of behavior, and of experiencing the kindness of strangers and the beauty of the countryside of America and Mexico. There is no true linear storyline and that will likely put off many viewers.

But in the end this long film is about a period of time of global fear regarding post WW II side effects and changes in the art and writing and interrelating that forever changed our world. The film is an experience and to appreciate it the viewer must just relinquish credibility and simply go on the road. Grady Harp, March 13
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Let's just get this out of the way - the movie is not the book. Now that we've established that truism for most book-to-movie adaptations, let's move on.

Just to give a little background on my mindset before I viewed this movie, I am not a Kerouac fan. Reading Kerouac as a black woman, is like repeatedly sticking a fork in my eye in some parts. It's painful to read the misogyny and the romanticism of picking cotton (When I read he thought he could make it his "life's work," I almost threw the book out of the window). But, I continued and actually understood his mindset by the end of the book. However, I really never wanted to be in his head again. It was a scary place.

So, as you could probably tell, I had my reservations about the movie. However, the cast won me over. When you have Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi, Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kirsten Dunst all in one movie, you can practically guarantee some fine performances and I wasn't disappointed at all. In fact, I'm a huge Kristen Stewart fan, in particular, and she blew me away, per usual.

On the Road is a story about a search for meaning in life - the "It." These young people were driven by their personal searches for God, their fathers (and in some ways their mothers), and a place to call home. They found all of those things in each other. Particularly, Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) found those things in Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady) and vice versa. They hurt people along the way and made horrible life choices. But, they lived put loud and inspired others to do the same. This movie did an amazing job of showing the joy and pain in this journey that Sal took.

So, if you like road movies about self-discovery and you want to see America roll in front of your eyes in all of its beauty and harshness, then you will enjoy this movie. It's not the book. It's its own thing. One thing I wish Walter Salles, the director, and the screen writer, Jose Rivera, would've done differently is show how interconnected Sal/Jack started to feel with the world. He started to see his friends in people of all different races and backgrounds. He started to see himself in everyone. "Life is the road and all roads lead to the world." He became a world citizen because of his travels and I think that would've been important to emphasize somehow. It's the same thing that Malcom X discovered before he was killed and Martin Luther King, Jr, knew before he was murdered. I'm not comparing Jack Kerouac to these men. I'm just saying that they all became global thinkers.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The title basically says it all. I have seen at least two other reviews that mentioned this, but not enough. The version you buy here is NOT the full version, but CUT. If you want the full version, do NOT buy this and waste your money. Hopefully, an uncut version will eventually come out in the future, but until then, only buy this if you do not mind that it has been cut.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2013
Format: DVD
wow it's ruined ,they cut it all up ,avoid at all costs ,wait for an unrated directors edition or get the french or australian version ,i'm speechless ,appalled .
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Amazon Instant Video
By its very nature, Jack Kerouac's autobiographical "On The Road" is an episodic sojourn of self-discovery that doesn't really lend itself to the film medium. Since its publication in 1957, many have eyed the possibility of a big screen interpretation (and, indeed, several seventies road trip classics owe a debt to it), but the iconic book has never made it past the screenplay stage. Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) has owned the rights to "On The Road" since 1980 and he's finally served up a version under the hand of director Walter Salles (he did the great Brazilian drama Central Station). Together, I'd say this handsome and well made film is both surprisingly faithful to the source material but also somewhat aloof from an emotional standpoint. Is it the book? Absolutely not. So those expecting a literal translation from page to screen will always have something to complain about. But for my money, the film does capture the spirit of this journey. At times riveting, at times perplexing, the movie is loaded with a veritable "who's who" from a casting standpoint. Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Elizabeth Moss, and Kirsten Dunst, as some of the more recognizable names, all take relatively small parts in the overall picture. But the movie primarily focuses on a tangled romantic trio portrayed by Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, and Kristen Stewart.

Sam Riley plays aspiring writer (and Kerouac stand-in) Sal Paradise. Living on the fringes of the artistic community, his existence is rocked by his introduction to the charming Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund). He is fascinated by this free spirit and inspired by him. Moriarty represents the true freedom of America, open both emotionally and sexually to the experiences life has to offer. As they embark on a road trip across the country, they will share in love, drugs, and brushes with the law. Rebellion, adventure, freedom. All of the things needled to fuel Riley's creative spirit (he is journaling throughout) are provided on this odyssey. As I mentioned, it's all very episodic. Some of the encounters resonate more than others, but they all combine to form the bigger picture. As much as I wanted to feel connected to this story, however, I maintained somewhat of a distance. Riley, as the core of the picture, stays more of a voyeur even in the thick of things. His recitation of events is clinical and even detached. So, truthfully, I never got quite as close as I wanted.

For me, "On The Road" is ultimately sold more on its performances than on its story. Sam Riley plays a solid lead. If you like him and you haven't seen his riveting work in 2007's "Control," don't miss it. Stewart, also, makes the most of this change-of-pace role. Before becoming an international icon (for good or bad) in the Twilight franchise, the actress seemed content with indie work. It's good to see her get back to her roots. But the movie's success or failure hinges on the work of Hedlund. As Dean Moriarty, he is the catalyst and driving force behind almost all of the film's drama. You must believe he has the charm and charisma to enchant and frustrate almost every other character. And I thought he did. With a low key energy, he never overplays either. The relationship between Riley and Hedlund is the primary factor in this adaptation, and I think it is both fascinating and provocative. In the end, the movie wrapped this pivotal pairing up rather unsatisfactorily for my taste. I guess I never got close enough to Riley, never made a real emotional connection, so his evolution at the end of the picture felt both rushed and unexplained. Overall, though, I think "On The Road" is worth a look. KGHarris, 8/13.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 12, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Director Walter Salles ("Dark Water") and screen writer Jose Rivera take Jack Kerouac's famous adventure and put it to film for what I believe is the first time. Even with an all-star cast, they manage to bungle the trip much as Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) bungles his life. Dean whose name is a substitute for the real life Neal Cassady is an ex-con, drugged out, alcoholic womanizer. Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), subbing for Kerouac is a depressed writer whose father has just died.

After meeting Dean in New York in 1947, Sal is immediately smitten by Dean's carefree attitude about life. Dean returns to his hometown in Denver and invites Sal to visit. Sal decides to do it, but with no money, no job, not much of a life he decides to hitchhike, taking odd jobs along the way. When he eventually shows up, Dean has married girlfriend Marylou aka LuAnne Henderson played by Kristen Stewart. Marylou is about as carefree as Dean and meets Sal while lounging mostly naked on the bed. She is constantly flirting with whoever is around and Dean seems OK with it, even to the point of her being the trois to the boy's ménage.

Several characters come in and out of the trio's life including Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsberg (Tom Sturridge) who clearly has a romantic thing for Dean. The problem with the film is that there is no cohesion or structure to the story. Perhaps it was meant to be that way. I've not read Kerouac's book so I can't comment on any common ground. The film and the characters move around from New York to Denver to San Francisco to Maryland, back to New York then to New Orleans. Everywhere they go, new characters appear, including those portrayed by Terrence Howard, Amy Adams, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and others. I was watching this with my son and he told me that the only reason he was sticking around is to see which famous actor will appear next for their few minutes on film.

In one farcical scene, Sal and Dean are hitchhiking and are picked up by a credited "Tall Thin Salesman" played by Steve Buscemi. "Tall" shows up at the guy's room with a bottle of whiskey and looking for action but not with a lady. Sal's a bit disgusted, but Dean does the deed earning $20 for his trick. Eventually, Sal has enough material to write his book and Dean looks like he's headed for an early grave.

The performances are fine by all concerned. The movie might be worth a look just to see Ms. Stewart give a strong performance after all those vampire movies. She's good and you'll see her in a way you haven't before. I can't recommend it otherwise. It's just a mess.

The Blu ray transfer is excellent however. Salles was working again with Eric Gautier who he used with "The Motorcycle Diaries." The film was shot on 35mm so you will see some grain in the transfer. I loved the winter scenes and all of the cars from the late '40's and early '50's look great. The 1080p resolution looks terrific in the wide 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is even better. The film has an excellent musical soundtrack with plenty of jazz throughout thanks to composer Gustavo Santaolalla. The surrounds are in play constantly. Check out the scene where the guys go to see Slim Gaillard played by Coati Mundi. He performs the jive "Yip Roc Heresy." Extras are virtually non-existent with some deleted scenes but I had already had enough at just over 2 hours. There is also a trailer. Spanish and English SDH subtitles are available.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I should start by saying that the novel On the Road is a novel that presents serious challenges to anyone hoping to make it into a movie. There is probably a reason that this is the first (as far as I know) attempt to make the book into a movie. The book is not structured by a traditional plot: central conflict, climax, resolution. The book is about four separate journeys, the frantic search of a group of young writers, poets, and petty criminals for "it", some unachievable ideal. It would be very difficult to turn all of that into a coherent film so I was prepared for some pretty radical departures from the book. I was not disappointed in that regard, there were major deviations, but I do not think they were ultimately all that successful in turning the book into a coherent or interesting movie.

The movie opens with some truly cringe worthy scenes of Carlo Marx (Ginsberg) reading some god-awful poetry and a heart to heart talk between Sal and Dean about their fathers, a scene that was entirely made up. Virtually every made up scene in the movie was cringe worthy to me. Whoever wrote the adaptation was clearly trying to ape Kerouac's style, which, admittedly would be difficult for anyone, but they were not really very successful. I also do not think that the soundtrack worked all that well. They had a good idea: use jazz. Jazz plays a big role in the book. Ultimately, I don't think it worked. There were scenes that I think would have been more powerful if they had been differently scored.

I could also tell right away that there was not going to be any of the frantic energy of the book. They try, but again, they do not succeed. They also fail with most of the characters. Dean has none of the charisma and frantic energy that he has in the book. It is impossible to imagine why anyone would follow Dean, or put up with his non-sense, from this movie. In the book, it is clear that, as horrible as Dean can be to the people around him, he has some mysterious quality that draws people to him. They fail, in my opinion, to capture that in this movie. He is not only a con-man, he is dull and boring. The only characters I thought the movie handled well were Carlo Marx and Old Bull Lee (Ginsberg and Burroughs). All the other characters seemed flat and boring to me (MaryLou was on the border of interesting, maybe crossing it in a few moments).

The movie also feels like it is just a bunch of fragmented scenes that do not really add up to a movie. I knew they were going to have to take a lot of license with the book but, if you are going to deviate as much as they did, they might as well put in a story, turn it into something coherent. They add a bunch of stuff that does not really add much to the overall story (like Carlo's homosexual relationship with Dean which, as far as I know, is historically accurate, but was not emphasized in the book). Carlo's relationship with Dean is just an isolated episode. So why take the license if it is not adding anything? There were a number of scenes that were totally made up that, in my opinion, had no purpose. Even the scenes that were taken directly from the book were not that interesting or powerful. I almost quit watching the movie out of boredom and I sort of drifted in and out for the last forty-five minutes or so.

The preview of this movie really made it look good. It looked like they had captured the spirit, if not the letter, of the book, but, I think, in this case, unfortunately, looks were deceiving.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2014
Format: DVD
If you haven't read jack kerouac's timeless classic already, do so! then never, ever see this movie. if you've read 'on the road,' then imagine that some foreigners took bits of it and destroyed those bits in a screen play, using wildly inappropriate actors (kristen stewart and the always-awful kirsten dunst), then got expensive cameras, and made a dreadful film that wasn't even shot in the USA. Trust me, as a huge kerouac fan, this is what happened - you'll hate it. i guarantee it...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2013
Format: DVD
As someone who read all of Kerouac back in the late 1950s, hitchhiked from coast to coast, lived in Venice Beach (all of that), and did my best to find the Beats, but found that by 1960 they were already re-inventing themselves and fading to repetition. I at least got close enough to smell the reality, but this sad movie stinks.

Some favorite actors, yes, but neither Dean Moriarty nor Sal as played here were even close to the reality. Perhaps the actions followed the truth, but the characters were cheerless caricatures of what they would have had to be to carry this off.

I was so sorry to see this forgetting or perhaps not knowing what it was about, having almost no idea. I don't like bad movies, but I really don't like misleading movies, and this IMO is one of those. Distasteful.

Sheer ignorance I guess, ignoring the reality.
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