Despondent with bright flashes of humor, On The Road is the epitome of a beatnik movie. Based on the book of the same name, it tells the story of Sal Paradise, a writer who isn’t writing, seemingly stopped up after his father’s passing. In a time where artistry is like a life requirement, he’s left feeling stifled until he meets, through his friend, Dean Moriarity and his wife, MaryLou. He ends up on the road with Dean and MaryLou, running away under the guise of seeking inspiration.
The adventures of the movie were enthralling and carry the film through several years. The movie feels more like an ode to the era, sinking into the experimental hedonism of the time. We travel with Sal through an increasing spiral of decadence, presented by Dean, pushing to the very limit of what life can offer.
I was intrigued by this movie to the point where I had to sit and think on it for a few days to properly explain how I felt. In some ways, I feel like there was no point to it. The pseudo-intellectuals birthed of this era and running through this film didn’t seem to know much about the world save for what they read and regurgitated in their dark and windy stream-of-conscious poetry. On the other hand, the desperate, careless, and casual debauchery was entrancing in it’s own way. These were people who didn’t want to live as much as they wanted to feel some kind of relevance to their existence. It’s a sentiment that is age-old and I can respect anyone’s attempt to feel as if they are doing something meaningful before they die.
Sal is us and Dean, along with his sultry, drowsy-eyed MaryLou, is the big, bad world. Dean is a bizarre mix of man and child, full of stories that may or may not be true with an incessant sex drive. Through the movie, he is the catalyst, pulling everyone into his sphere and leaving them spinning in his wake. I’m not sure if I liked Dean but by the end of the movie, his impact on Sal was visible. It is their journey together that sets the movie’s foundation and gives it a genuine heart beneath it’s cynical shell. A very interesting movie but make sure you pay attention. It’s the little details that make this film really blossom.
On The Road is now available to watch on Cable VOD, SundanceNOW along with Amazon Streaming, PS3 Playstation Unlimited, XBOX Zune, Google PLAY and YouTube. Find out more information about the film and the back story behind it on it’s site here.
By Nicole Carter