As Pierce Brosnan celebrates his 60th birthday (we can't believe it either!) we look back at how all the James Bond stars have changed over the years
Review: On The Road
Release date: 12 October 2012
Director: Walter Salles
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart
What’s the story?
Aspiring writer Sal Paradise (Riley) falls in with drifter Dean Moriarty (Hedlund) and his alluring partner Marylou (Stewart) and has various adventures while wandering up and down America’s endless highways.
What did we think?
A fine cast goes a long way towards humanising Kerouac’s self-absorbed wastrels in a good-looking drama whose striking scenes never add up to much of a whole. Good to see Stewart stretch herself in a film that doesn’t involve vampires, though the end result is likelier to frustrate than entrance
Six decades have passed since Jack Kerouac’s On the Road became a counter-cultural landmark, during which time they have been numerous fruitless attempts to turn it into a film. That Walter Salles has succeeded where so many have failed is something to be celebrated, even if the result shows up all too well why others stumbled.
More a collection of episodes than a sustained narrative, Kerouac’s seminal 1951 text mirrors the rootless lives of its freedom-seeking protagonists in a way that flies in the face of conventional cinematic storytelling. Best buckle up and surrender yourself to the ride, then, if you want to experience the same hedonistic highs its characters chase after over the course of a lengthy and at times wearisome movie.
There’s plenty to admire here, from Kristen Stewart’s intoxicating wild child to Viggo Mortensen’s mellifluous junkie, a figure transparently inspired by Naked Lunch author William S Burroughs. Yet while Garrett Hedlund brings the confident swagger of the young Brad Pitt to his personification of Dean Moriarty, aka Neal Cassady, Kerouac’s own alter-ego is so wanly embodied by Britain’s Sam Riley you have to wonder if his superb portrayal of Ian Curtis in Control was a flukish one-off.
Verdict: Keeps the motor running.