Coming to theatres this Friday from director Michael Polish comes a book based on the novel by Jack Kerouac and his time at BIG SUR.
This film tells the story of Jack Kerouac (Jean-Marc Barr), a writer whose life is spiraling. With the fame of his book ON THE ROAD, Kerouac doesn’t know who he is any longer.
Listening to others call him a maverick only brings him more rage than he can drown in bottle after bottle of alcohol. The ‘beat generation’ wants more from their prose hero but Kerouac leaves for three weeks in August of 1960 with the help of Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Anthony Edwards) to Big Sur.
Not content with a quiet life Kerouac seeks out his friends Neal Cassady (Josh Lucas) and others to try and refocus but instead gets further out of control. Losing himself into a dark place he breaks down.
What reemerges is a culmination of a double life.
FINAL WORD: Barr as Kerouac is amazing. Portraying a man who clearly had more inner demons than the film has time to cover, Barr is breathtaking in moments where it is least expected.
Lucas as Cassady is another man clearly in need of some ‘me’ time but only to realize the selfishness he brings to the relationship with his wife Carolyn (Radha Mitchell). Lucas can be quite charming one moment and in a snap have the eyes of a man who clearly feels as if life has totally ripped him off.
Edwards as Ferlinghetti gives new meaning to the word friendship. His care and concern for Kerouac is profound and yet puts up with the total amount of bull that no one should – no matter how talented a friend might be. Yet, I give Ferlinghetti credit for seeing something in that friendship we all recognize.
Other cast include: Kate Bosworth as Billie, Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Cassady, Balthazar Getty as Michael McClure, Patrick Fischler as Lew Welch, Stana Katic as Lenora, and John Robinson as Paul Smith.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give BIG SUR three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Perhaps this is prejudice on my part but I have always loved reading Kerouac. There is something so twisted, clear and divine about the way he saw the world. I was told once that his sentences were fragmented and my reply was, “aren’t we all?”
Barr’s voice and presence managed to capture the struggle with duality that I would expect from any actor who dare take on this role. Director Polish finds the most beautiful locations with music that is so heartbreakingly beautiful. Yes, I will be breaking out Kerouac’s books once again!
In the end – some souls never stop searching.