Rank, Joyous, Brilliant, Crackling

Walter SallesOn The Road is masterful and rich and lusty, meditative and sensual and adventurous and lamenting all at once. It has Bernardo Bertolucci‘s “nostalgia for the present” except the present is 1949 to 1951 — it feels completely alive in that time. No hazy gauze, no bop nostalgia. Beautifully shot and cut, excitingly performed and deeply felt.

It’s much, much better than I thought it would be given the long shoot and…I forget how long it’s been in post but it feels like ages. It’s so full of life and serene and mirthful in so many different ways. I was stirred and delighted and never less than fully engrossed as I watched it, and it’s great to finally run into a film that really hits it, and then hits it again and again. This is a big surprise. I don’t care what the Guy Lodge gang is saying — it’s certainly a major contender for the Palme d’Or.

On The Road, yes, is episodic and roaming…how could it not be? The book is the book is the book. But like Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries, it works. The choices, the moods, the shaping, the recapturing of an America and a world that no longer exists. Every shot and every cut is so precise and dead to rights.

I’m in the press conference room right now, tapping this out in my seat in the front row with Walter Salles, Garett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and others due to arrive in about ten minutes so this review can’t last, and there’s Holy Motors at noon so I can’t even stay for much of the q & a. But at least I’ve tapped out a decent first paragraph. I have to stand up now and get my place with all the photographers milling around…later.

24 thoughts on “Rank, Joyous, Brilliant, Crackling

  1. “I was stirred and delighted and never less than fully engrossed as I watched it, and it’s great to finally run into a film that really hits it, and then hits it again and again. This is a big surprise. It’s certainly a major contender for the Palme d’Or.”

    Great to see that someone liked it so much, but from reading other reactions, it sounds like you’re going to be all alone in this opinion.

  2. It’s certainly a major contender for the Palme d’Or.

    This isn’t a comment on the film itself — which I incidentally thought was dull and irrelevant, albeit very pretty — but it really, really isn’t.

  3. Thrilled to read your comments for this movie. I revere Kerouac and have been waiting for this movie to come out all my life. I am hoping it catches the time it is set in. Also hoping the music fits the time. After watching the trailer for The Great Gatsby I fear F. Scott Fitzgerald is rolling over in his grave.

  4. The naysayers, no offense, strike me snide, crabby and nitpicky. A bit lacking in vision, heart, spirit. This film is perfectly sculpted and truly stunning. I’ve been watching films and docs about Kerouac-Casady-Ginsberg-Burroughs for a long time now (what was the first one…Heartbeat with Nick Nolte and Sissy Spacek and John Heard?), and this is the best by far. You an’t assault the film for the material. You can only ask “how well was it realized? how alive was it? how real?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neal_Cassady

  5. “It’s certainly a major contender for the Palme d’Or.”

    You are certainly the only one thinking that.
    Critics ratings so far: (0-10)

    Alejandro G. Calvo 3.5
    Alexandra Zawia 4
    Diego Batlle 6
    Diego Lerer 5.8
    Eulalia Iglesias 4
    Jose Luis de Lorenzo 2

  6. Yes it was Heartbeat. Actually I kind of loved that movie despite the fact it was flawed. Nolte was a wonderful Cassidy. If you are into this time and Kerouac, you should check out a doc made a few years ago…One False Move Or I’m Gone. Traces the times Kerouac spent in Big Sur and has some amazing interviews with Cassidy’s wife Carolyn who is still going strong.

  7. “Yes but subtly, with discretion. Nothing to write home about.”

    LexG, no doubt, will be disappointed by this. “What’s the point of doing a subtle nude scene,” he’ll wonder. “Go big or go home.”

  8. This film’s gestation and Cannes unveiling, biz/critical reception is for me still the story of the Fest so far.

  9. Who is that morose guy who gets to moderate all these panels featuring the big movie stars? He seems like the biggest buzzkill of all time, always chastising journalists like a schoolmarm.

  10. BTW: I’ve updated the rest of the Alex Billington ratings, and as it turns out his ratings are out of the 2.5 stddev margin with 2.88 for 8 reviews.
    2.88 Alex Billington (FirstShowing.net, USA) 8 +0.6
    So I cannot trust his numbers.
    http://rurban.xarch.at/film/Cannes2012.sorted.html

    “The worst of all 14 films so far he has seen.” was wrong. He disliked Amour and Hunt more. He probably fell out with his Amour view.

  11. “Diego Lerer 5.8″

    Diego Lerer collects movie samples in a molecular sieve and measures them in his lab with micrometer-screw calipers and stopcock burette.

    Shut up. It’s science.

  12. I revere Kerouac and have been waiting for this movie to come out all my life.

    If you revere the man so much, you should have been satisfied with the text.Trying to make effective movies out of seminal literary milestones like OTR is a fool’s errand. Same with Confederacy of Dunces.

  13. Who is that morose guy who gets to moderate all these panels featuring the big movie stars? He seems like the biggest buzzkill of all time, always chastising journalists like a schoolmarm. buy google plus 1

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