Movie spotlight: 'On the Road' back on big screen

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 23, 2013 - 2:51 PM
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Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund in "On the Road."

ON THE ROAD

Criminally underseen at the time of its release, Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” (⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars, R for strong sexual content, drug use and language) puts the classic novel on screen in wonderful form. Would-be writer Sal Paradise (English actor Sam Riley) hitches a ride through Eisenhower-era America with charismatic roustabout Dean Moriarty (Minnesotan Garrett Hedlund). Dean seems to know every key member of the Beat Generation, every sexually available woman and man, and every backwoods gas station with an unguarded food shelf and fuel pump. Sal becomes Dean’s literary tutor while Dean introduces shy Sal to sex, drugs and bebop. Sal recognizes that his slippery friend’s a con man while overestimating how long that character trait might remain entertaining. They fly across the nation’s back roads like visionary nomads, with Dean’s impulsive energy counterbalancing Sal’s need to withdraw and observe. Salles draws top-notch work from an eclectic cast including Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams and Kristen Stewart, and Eric Gautier’s camerawork evokes a bygone era of two-lane highways and wide open spaces with hallucinogenic beauty. (St. Anthony Main, 115 SE. Main St., Mpls.)

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