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On the Road

The best teacher is experience 

Year: 2012 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Walter Salles 
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart  
An image from On the Road

When budding writer Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) befriends the charming ex-con Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and Dean’s new and very young wife, the femme fatale Mary Lou (Kristen Stewart), he finds himself inspired by their free-wheeling outlook on life, cutting all ties to join the pair on the road. Heavily based on Kerouac’s own experiences hitch-hiking across the States, what follows is a debauched trip across 1950s America, at the birth of the Beat Generation movement, in an attempt to find the elusive freedom which Sal craves.

As with most films which are adaptions from novels, many have questioned how well the On The Road will translate to screen. There is perhaps no better Director than Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) then, to bravely take on the long anticipated film adaptation of Kerouac’s seminal work, which many have given up on in the last 55 years since the novel’s release. Critics have praised Sam Riley's (Brighton Rock) performance as protagonist Sal Paradise, as natural and sympathetic but also captivating, balancing flawlessly against Garrett Hedlund (TRON Legacy) as an enigmatic and growingly desperate Dean Moriarty, as the story moves from hedonistic enthusiasm to crushing disillusionment. The film is also a breakaway from the fantasy genre for Kristen Stewart, and a knockback to some of her earlier roles she has played in such films as Into The Wild, hopefully proving her not to be somewhat of a one-trick pony. The trio are joined by a talented cast, with well-known faces including Kirsten Dunst, Steve Buscemi and Viggo Mortensen, which can only add to the film’s merits.

Whether you’re a lover of this movement-defining cult-classic, or just looking to slake your wanderlust vicariously, follow Sal, Dean and MaryLou on their rhapsodic pilgrimage of cross-country misbehaviour.

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Screenings of this film:

2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)